Ajeetesh Sandhu remains in contention

On a day of blustering winds at the Namseoul Country Club, Ajeetesh Sandhu shot 74 to remain in T2. Dongha Lee retained the Maekyung Open lead

Ajeetesh Sandhu remains in contention at the Maekyung Open

May 05, 2018: The Maekyung Open arrived at the doorstep of a potentially mouth watering climax. There are an unbelievable 16 players within four strokes off the leader, setting the stage for a thrilling finale on Sunday. Ajeetesh Sandhu endured the difficult conditions on Saturday to post 74, ending the day at 1-under through 54 holes. He has Sanghyun Park and Sanghee Lee for company at T2.

“I finished off badly and I’m one shot back. But there’s one more day to go and everything to play for. My scores don’t really reflect it, but I’ve been playing well all week,” assured Ajeetesh. “I’m happy with my game and there’s nothing wrong right now. I just have to play well tomorrow and see where I end up.”

Overnight leader Dongha Lee of Korea kept his place atop the leaderboard by signing for a third round four-over-par 75 at the Maekyung Open Golf Championship on Saturday.
Playing under blustery conditions at the Namseoul Country Club, Lee was swept off course as he mixed five bogeys and one birdie to compile a three-day total of two-under-par 211.
However, that was still enough to give him a slender shot lead over compatriots Sanghee Lee and Sanghyun Park as well as India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu at the KR?1,000,000,000 (approx. US$925,000) event.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar had an unforgettable round as he carded 18 straight pars to share fifth place with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, Phachara Khongwatmai and Korea’s Dongmin Kim, Junggon Hwang and Jooheung Chol on 213 total.
Starting the day with a two-shot lead, Lee dropped his first shot on the par-four second hole. He birdied the fourth hole and had trouble reading the fast greens starting from the sixth hole.
“Staying patient was definitely the key for me today. It was a day of mixed emotions as I missed several birdie opportunities and I also made a few up and downs for par,” said Bhullar. “It has been a long time since I had such a round. I remember having such a round in India several years ago and I won that tournament.
“Considering the weather and tough pin positions, it was a decent round for me. I’ve been driving the ball really well and I missed only one fairway the last three days. I’m hitting my irons well too and giving myself lots of birdie opportunities,” he added. “The goal is to repeat what I’ve done and I know I have a chance if I can get into a good round tomorrow.”
Lee went go on to bogey holes seven, eight and 13. But with the rest of his nearest rivals also struggling under tough conditions, the Korean was relieved to have kept his place at the summit.
Shiv Kapur also shot a 74, reaching the final round just outside the top ten in Korea. Chikkarangappa dropped to T57 with an 80 in the third round. Arjun Atwal shot 76 to end the day at T68.
Some interesting facts –
  • Ajeetesh Sandhu earned his Asian Tour breakthrough at the 2017 Yeangder TPC in Chinese Taipei.
  • He immediately followed up that victory with a play-off win at the Pacific Club Challenge Tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour the week after.
  • Ajeetesh finished the 2017 season in 21st place on the Order of Merit and his best result was a tied-10th finish in Japan a fortnight ago.
  • Gaganjeet Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30. He is also the youngest player to achieve the feat on the Asian Tour.
  • Bhullar holds the same number of Asian Tour wins with countrymen Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa. They are the only three Indian players with the most number of wins on the Asian Tour.


Select Scores:

211 – Dongha LEE 562 (KOR) 68-68-75.
212 – Sanghee LEE (KOR) 73-71-68, Sanghyun PARK (KOR) 71-70-71, Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 67-71-74.
213 – Junggon HWANG (KOR) 71-73-69, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 71-72-70, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 72-70-71, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 69-70-74, Dongmin KIM (am, KOR) 72-69-72, Heungchol JOO (KOR) 68-70-75.
214 – Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 73-72-69, Seungbo JANG (am, KOR) 71-72-71.
215 – John CATLIN (USA) 72-72-71, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 73-71-71, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 71-72-72, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 69-72-74.
216 – Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 73-72-71, Soonsang HONG (KOR) 74-71-71, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 73-71-72, Minchel CHOI (KOR) 74-70-72, J.B. PARK (KOR) 68-74-74, K.T. KIM (KOR) 72-70-74, Dongseop MAENG (KOR) 70-71-75.
217 – Hyunwoo RYU (KOR) 70-74-73, Kyong-jun MOON (KOR) 71-75-71, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 76-71-70.
Edited from Asian Tour Release

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