No one was running away on Sunday. One last round of golf on the PGTI Tour in 2020, a packed leaderboard with the top six just four shots apart and keeping it close all day made for a thrilling finish to the Tata Steel Tour Championship in Jamshedpur. Gaganjeet Bhullar separated himself nearly at the very end, chipping for an eagle on the 16th to join the leaders, before surging in front with a 20-footer for birdie on the next hole to secure a victory, he will remember for a long time. Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi were in the mix to the very end, but that sudden burst from Bhullar stole the show in the Tata Steel Tour Championship.
Bhullar started the day with three birdies in the first four holes. At that stage, it appeared as though Bhullar could run away to a big win. But a double bogey at the third and a bogey on the next reduced him to square one. Bhullar picked up a birdie on the 8th but dented the card again with a bogey on the eleventh. Lesser men may have folded to such an undulating run, but Bhullar remained firmly committed to the pursuit of victory.
Bhullar bounced back with back to back birdies. Yet again, he would concede a stroke on the 15th to fall two strokes off the lead. In a rousing burst to the finish line, Bhullar gained three strokes and jumped into the lead, leapfrogging Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi on the 17th hole.
“Honestly, I was not at all expecting to win this week. This week the first goal for me was to make the cut. But I kept gaining momentum with each passing round and played four solid rounds where my putting was very consistent.
“I did shoot a nine-under on day two but it was the third round of 64 that really put me in contention. That’s when I knew that I had a really good chance to win. I was aware of the fact that whenever I have been in contention in recent times, I have gone on to win.
“I believed in myself on the final day despite the ups and downs during the round. The eagle and birdie on the final stretch came just at the right time for me. It’s been great being back on the PGTI and registering my first win on the tour since my 2011 victory in Chandigarh.
“I played two events on the PGTI this month and the competition has been very intense which is a great sign of things to come for Indian golf. I would like to thank TATA Steel for staging this fabulous event and supporting Indian golf and the PGTI even in such difficult times.”Gaganjeet Bhullar was thrilled to pull off an unlikely victory
The two young men were looking set to battle for honours as they marched up the final stretch. Unfortunately, Chikkarangappa made a bogey and Joshi dissolved into a double bogey on the 72nd hole as the two of them finished in second and third respectively.
Overnight leader SSP Chawrasia was in no mood to relent. Even though a bogey at the first hole threatened to upend his chances, Chawrasia steadied himself quickly to prevent the dent from hurting his hopes. He was two under through the front nine, and well placed for a final assault. But looking to push ahead on the final stretch, Chawrasia conceded three bogeys to settle for an even 72, good enough for a T4 with Rahil Gangjee. The latter played exceptionally well on Sunday for a 67 that catapulted him into a tie with Chawrasia. Amardeep Malik also could not find the game he needed, taking a 73 and sixth place.
Anirban Lahiri and Shiv Kapur settled for top-20 finishes, their 72s in the third round causing them to lose some ground in their quest for glory. On Sunday, Lahiri shot 68 to finish the week in 11th place. Kapur took T16 with Akshay Sharma after making a 69 in the final round.