Ahmedabad, Jan 16 (PTI) Gaganjeet Bhullar became thefirst Indian to win on the Challenge Tour after triumphing byone shot at the season-opening Euro 200,000 Gujarat KensvilleChallenge that concluded here today.
Bhullar battled with his nerves during a closing round of75, but his five-under par 283 was enough to see off England''sMatt Ford, who signed for a round of 70 to finish just astroke behind.
Such was the demanding nature and condition of the JeevMilkha Singh-designed Kensville Golf Club here that only sixplayers finished under par.
England''s Jamie Moul finished in third place courtesybest-of-the-day round of 69, whilst his compatriot MatthewBaldwin took the fourth place at two-under 286. The only otherplayers to finish below par were Bangladesh''s Siddikur Rahman(73) and Denmark''s Mads Vibe-Hastrup (72), who shared fifthplace at one-under par 287.
After opening with a bogey, Bhullar recovered by pickingup a shot at the third hole, which he has birdied on all fourdays. He immediately gave a shot back at the next hole, andafter another bogey at the tenth, Bhullar''s grip on the trophyappeared in some peril � especially when Ford ran upsuccessive birdies on the 13th and 14th.
However, Bhullar remained composed thereafter and,despite another bogey on the penultimate hole, a par on thelast sealed his victory. The 22-year old rising star is now32,000 euros richer but, perhaps more importantly, has writtenhis name into the history books.
The lad from Kapurthala was excited with his maideninternational victory.
"I''m very pleased to begin the season with a victory.
Last year, I also began the season with a victory on the AsianTour, but I cherish this moment as this is my firstinternational victory in India.
"It was my father''s birthday on January 14, so I dedicatethis win to him. I hope that this season brings me moresuccess, and I''m now looking forward to stepping up to TheEuropean Tour," said Bhullar.
"Today the pin positions were tough, so it wasn''t easy toget birdies. On the 17th hole, I found a bad lie in a divotand ended up making bogey, so I was under pressure. But I wasconfident that I could still pull it off as I knew making abirdie on the finishing hole would be difficult, even thoughFord was playing well.
"It will take a while for me to digest this victory, asit''s special moment in my life. Now that I''ve got a card onthe Challenge Tour, I will have to consult my parents beforedeciding whether to play full-time on this Tour, as it wouldbe a quicker way to step up to The European Tour," addedBhullar. (More) PTI SHN