Gaganjeet Bhullar makes a fine start in Korea

Gaganjeet Bhullar shot five birdies in the first round of the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea. Sanghyun Park in the lead with a 65

Gaganjeet Bhullar at the Shinhan Donghae Open

Asian Tour Release – 13 September 2018: Sanghyun Park’s resplendent form in Korea continues as he carded an opening round six-under-par 65 to take the lead at the KR?1,200,000,000 (approximately US$1,000,000) 34th Shinhan Donghae Open on Thursday. Nine-time Asian Tour winner and winner of this event in 2016, Gaganjeet Bhullar produced a 67 to tie in the second spot with six other golfers.

Rashid Khan was in T9 after scoring 68 in the opening round. Viraj Madappa shot 70 while Ajeetesh Sandhu and Arjun Atwal began the week on a 71.

Chikkarangappa, Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa were all one over on their card of 72. They will need to dip under par on Friday to secure their weekend, as will Khalin Joshi who shot 73 in the first round.

Park, who enjoyed a bogey-free round, started impressively from hole 10 and made the turn at 31. He sunk two more birdies before signing his card at the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club.

The 35-year-old said that familiarity with the conditions contributed to his success in Korea. He won an Asian Tour event on home soil in May this year, followed by a tournament on the local circuit a month later.

“I feel great and the course was difficult. I started very well and did not drop any shot, which was fantastic. The reason why this course is difficult is because of the long rough,” explained Park. “I focused on accuracy and putting the ball on the fairway. That was what I did today, which was why I had so many birdies.

“I played my front nine (holes 10 to 18) better than the back nine, which was puzzling because the front nine is usually more difficult.”

“I’m playing at home. It is more comfortable for me. Perhaps that is why I’m playing so well in Korea,” added Park.

“The depth of the field in the Asian Tour is strong. As I play with good golfers, I have a different mindset. It’s my home course, I feel like I need to do better. I don’t want to be defeated by anyone.”

Seven golfers trail Park by two shots in second place. The group included 2016 Shinhan Open champion Gaganjeet Bhullar, South African Jbe Kruger and Frenchman Lionel Weber.

2016 Shinhan Donghae Open champion Bhullar had a steady round, having dropped only a single shot the entire day. He struck the ball accurately from tee to green and finished on a high with two consecutive birdies.

“It was a steady round of golf today. I hit 11 fairways and 14 greens in regulation. I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. The last two holes were really good. Holes eight and nine turned around the day for me,” said Bhullar.

“The only bogey I had was on 15, my fifth hole of the day. I missed the fairway off the tee and I had to lay up. Then I missed the third shot onto the green. The goal this week is to keep the ball in play. You have to be on the fairway in order to attack the flag,” he added.

“Golf is a like a marathon. It is still too early to discuss a victory. You have to go out there and give 100 per cent every day and hope that your game clicks.”

Kruger also had a good ball-striking round, missing only four fairways and three greens in regulation. A bogey on hole eight marred his otherwise flawless scorecard.

Conversely, Weber hit only 50 per cent of the fairways and seven out of 18 greens in regulation. However, he put on short game masterclass en route to carding a 67. The 22-year-old took only 19 putts in his opening round.

Did you know:

  • Sanghyun Park has been prolific at Asian Tour events in Korea this year. He won the Maekyung Open and finished tied-second at the Korea Open.
  • He hit nine out of 14 fairways, and 14 out of 18 greens in regulation in his opening round.
  • He last played at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2016. That year, he finished tied-26th.
  • Gaganjeet Bhullar won his ninth Asian Tour title last month in Fiji.
  • He is tied for fourth on the Asian Tour all-time winners list.
  • Lionel Weber’s best finish on the Asian Tour this year is tied-21st, posted at the Myanmar Open.
  • He is still in the hunt for his maiden Asian Tour title.
  • Jbe Kruger is a one-time Asian Tour winner. He posted a victory in India in 2012.
  • Kruger was tied-ninth at the 2016 Shinhan Donghae Open, and tied-89th the following year.



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