Bhullar is on cloud nine after victory in Fiji
Fiji, August 6: After becoming the first Indian to win nine Asian Tour titles, Gaganjeet Bhullar is now set for an epic showdown against countryman Shubhankar Sharma for the Habitat for Humanity Standings crown.
The 30-year-old made huge waves at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways after displaying mental courage and resilience to surpass the eight titles previously won by compatriots Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa.
Few would have doubted his chances in Fiji looking at his current form. In his last seven starts, Bhullar posted four top-10s including two runner-up finishes at the Maekyung Open and Queen’s Cup in Korea and Thailand respectively.
After winning his first European Tour title, Bhullar has now set his sights on winning the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings where he previously finished fifth in 2012 and 2013.
He is currently ranked fourth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings with earnings of US$357,630 and trails the leader Sharma by slightly over US$240,000. It will prove to be an exciting race towards the finishing line with the business-end of the Asian Tour season looming.
“There are still a lot of great tournaments coming up in the second half. Winning the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings will definitely be on my mind right now,” said Bhullar, whose wife Naureen Sandhu was present to witness his win in Fiji.
“Last week was something really special and I could feel a victory coming my way. I’ve been playing really well lately and I think the momentum was getting ready to win like this,” explained the Indian, who played his 185th Asian Tour event last week.
Bhullar is still driven despite his immense success. His career highlights include his wire-to-wire victory at the Macao Open last year and in the process, becoming the youngest player to secure eight titles on the region’s premier Tour.
“I would cherish this because we worked really hard for it. I was tied (on the titles won) with my childhood heroes Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, so this is an achievement for me. I’m going to work even harder to win even more titles on the international level,” said Bhullar.
The victory came with huge rewards including securing his spot in the lucrative CIMB Classic sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour this October. He is also in the running to qualify for the WGC-HSBC Championship in October.
The top three places on the money list remained unchanged with Matt Wallace (US$446,660) of England in second and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (US$372,481) in third position.
Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe nudged Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond out of the top-10 after his tied-60th finish in Fiji. Ben Campbell of New Zealand, who finished in tied-third, jumped 24 places to 30th position.
This week, the Asian Tour heads to Bangalore for the US$350,000 TAKE Solutions Masters, where Thailand’s Poom Saksansin will be defending his title.
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) $603,155.55
2. Matt WALLACE (ENG) $446,660
3. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $372,480.89
4. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $357,630.25
5. Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $295,660.39
6. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) $290,425.53
7. Sihwan KIM (USA) $279,623.77
8. Minchel CHOI (KOR) $271,340.97
9. Paul PETERSON (USA) $241,148.57
10. Scott VINCENT (ZIM) $233,741.1
11. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $207,973.14
12. John CATLIN (USA) $199,617.91
13. Justin HARDING (RSA) $188,648.75
14. Berry HENSON (USA) $159358.66
15. Daniel NISBET (AUS) $151,883.64
16. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $146,227.34
17. Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $140,649.11
18. Khalin JOSHI (IND) $133,933.64
19. Shaun NORRIS (RSA) $130,943.24
20. Yikeun CHANG (KOR) $125,015.8