Gaganjeet Bhullar held off a charging Anthony Quayle and a reinvigorated Ernie Els to claim his first European Tour title at the Fiji International.
Els chipped in for an eagle on the 1st and when he added a birdie on the 3rd, European Tour title No 29 looked very much on the cards. A bogey on the 5th left him playing catch-up and despite making further gains on the 9th, 11th, 14th, 17th and last, the gap was too large.
‘I did almost as much as I could,’ said Els.
‘I set out to try to shoot 65, which I did, and Anthony just played unbelievably. Jeez, what is it, 29 on the back nine? That’s unbelievable stuff. Great golf and well deserved.
‘I’m pleased with my round and pleased with the tournament and it’s been really a lot of fun in Fiji.’
The Indian entered the final day at Natadola Bay Golf Club with a one-shot lead but found himself trailing late in the day as Australian Quayle came home in 29 and set the target at 13 under in the clubhouse.
A brilliant chip-in eagle on the 17th moved Bhullar back into the lead and he held his nerve to par the last and sign for a 66 that gave him a one-shot victory over Quayle, who finished with a brilliant 63.
Four-time Major Championship winner Els signed for a closing 65 to finish at 12 under alongside New Zealander Ben Campbell.
Bhullar was playing his 106th European Tour event this week and is now exempt until the end of next season after adding to his Challenge Tour win in 2011 and eight Asian Tour victories.
Bhullar’s triumph is the third Indian victory of the season after Shubhankar Sharma’s double, and 16th Indian win in European Tour history.
Credit: European Tour