Shinhan Donghae OpenIndia’s Ganganjeet Bhullar returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013 when he powered his way to victory with a final round four-under-par 67 at the Shinhan Donghae Open on Sunday.

Asian Tour rookie Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe could not have asked for a more memorable week after he closed with a 69 to finish tied for second with Korea’s Taewoo Kim at  the KRW 1.2 billion (approximately US$1 million) event.

Australia’s Scott Hend increased his lead atop the Asian Tour Order of Merit by signing off with a 68 take a share of fourth place with Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski.

With the relentless rain pelting down on the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club, Bhullar kept his composure by reaching the turn in 34 after three birdies and a bogey.

Four birdies in his next five holes after the turn saw Bhullar reach the top of the leaderboard at 17-under, with a commanding four-shot advantage.

His charge towards victory was however halted when he bogeyed 16 and 17.

Bhullar then parred the closing 18 for four-day total of 15-under-par 269 but had to endure a nervous wait as Vincent and Kim, who were playing in the last group, still had the opportunity to force a play-off.

“I knew I was leading by four shots and somehow 16 was one of the toughest holes and I had to keep the ball in play and try to make a par at least.

“But I made a bogey there after hitting the water. Despite those two bogeys, I was still mentally strong and I knew that nobody was going to stop me from winning today,” said Bhullar.

Bhullar’s thoughts proved prophetic as Kim and Vincent could not extend the tournament into extra-time with their closing birdie and par respectively.

“I was not in contention when I started the round but I was very certain I was going to win this week and I was full of confidence.

“I kept telling myself I was going to win this trophy. There was lots of dedication and will power to do that,” said the Indian.

Vincent, a Qualifying School graduate, could not contain his delight in securing his best finish of his professional career so far.

The unheralded Zimbabwean fell under the radar by showing he could match up against the best players from the region at the Shinhan Donghae Open which is seeing the return of the Asian Tour as its new sanctioning partner along with the Korean PGA.

“I didn’t really know what I was coming into at the start of the week. I just wanted to come out here to play.

“But obviously you don’t want to come here to do okay. You want to come here to do really well. I cannot complain as all in all, it has been a really good week,” said Vincent, who posted rounds of 69, 64, 68 and 69.

Hend was meanwhile left to wait longer for his 10th Asian Tour title after a double-bogey on the par-three 12 put paid to all hopes.

“I read about the forecast yesterday and I knew it was going to be difficult at some point in time during the day.

“And it came along at the time when I made a double on the par-three, which probably caused me the tournament,” said Hend.

Sponsored by the Shinhan Financial Group for the past 32 years, the Shinhan Donghae Open last featured on the Asian Tour schedule in 2002 and will be the last major tournament on the KPGA schedule.


Leading scores after round 4 of the The 32nd Shinhan Donghae Open being played at the par 71, 6933 Yards Bear’s Best Cheongna GC course (am – denotes amateur):

269 – Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-66-68-67.

270 – Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-64-68-69, Taewoo 1468 KIM (KOR) 66-66-67-71.

271 – Scott HEND (AUS) 70-65-68-68, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 68-67-68-68.

272 – Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 67-64-66-75.

273 – Sung LEE (KOR) 66-71-70-66.

274 – Lionel WEBER (FRA) 70-70-69-65.

275 – Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 69-68-70-68, Younghan SONG (KOR) 73-65-69-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 69-68-69-69, Changwoo LEE (KOR) 68-70-67-70, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 68-67-67-73.

276 – Danny LEE (NZL) 68-65-71-72.

277 – Seungtaek LEE (KOR) 71-66-71-69, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 70-67-71-69, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 68-69-69-71, Michael WRIGHT (AUS) 67-67-69-74, Byeonghun An (KOR) 65-67-70-75.

- Advertisement -