Aiken holds off barnstorming Bhullar to take Avantha Masters
Bhullar carded a total of 20-under but despite his valiant effort fell three shots short of the South African.
Greater Noida: Gaganjeet Singh Bhullar did his best but it wasn't enough as South Africa's Thomas Aiken took the fourth edition of the 1.8m euro Avantha Masters here at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort on Sunday. It was Aiken's second European Tour win after the Spain Open in 2011. It also took him in the top-10 of the Race to Dubai with 377,350 euros.
Bhullar, who was six shots off the pace after round three at 12-under, took one and all by surprise with an 8-under 64, but despite his big-hearted display he couldn't get ahead of Aiken who shot a 67 to take the trophy at 23-under - an Avantha record.
China's Liang Wenchong, who was in second place three shots behind Aiken on Saturday, turned in a 69 for tied 3rd, while Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat also picked up a 69 to finish one shot behind Wenchong at 17-under.
Among other notable Indians, Himmat Rai ended tied 9th at 14-under; Jeev Milkha Singh was tied 23rd at 11-under, while Jyoti Randhawa, Anirban Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee were tied 29th at 10-under. Rashid Khan was five places further behind.
Aiken, who was in a six-shot lead after round three, was kept on toes all through the fourth round by Bhullar and naturally he was pleased to have held off the Indian.
"It was not a walk in the park for me by all means. Some guys were playing some great golf. Ganganjeet didn't give me any breathing space all through and I am really pleased with my efforts," the 29-year-old said.
"I gave myself plenty of chances all through. Many believe it's a low-scoring course but I don't think so. One shot here and there and it could penalise you badly. Luckily I made fewer mistakes and kept finding fairways and my iron play also came good. Very pleased I am."
Gaganjeet too was pleased after running Aiken close. "I played some great golf, especially over the last two days. I've made a few changes to my swing and it's working for me. Good striking was key here and so was putting. Let's hope I keep improving."