Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar edged out a fast-finishing Anthony Quale to win the Fiji International by one shot at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

The 30 year old began the final round one shot clear of the chasing pack and closed with a six under par 66 to finish at 14 under.

Queenslander Quayle snatched the lead at 13-under par with his second eagle of the day at 17, en-route to a new course record of 9-under 63.

But, with the pressure on, Bhullar chipped in from 40 yards for an eagle of his own to regain the lead and clinch his ninth Asian Tour win and first on the European Tour.

“You know, honestly, it could have been anybody’s tournament. Ernie was right up there, Anthony played really, really well,” he said.

“9 under on this golf course in this condition, that is something really good. As I said, Ben Campbell was right up there. I think it was just maybe golfing gods were on my side this week and my back nine was really, really strong.

“I played the last few months, I was struggling on my Sunday back nine. But I’m really proud of myself that this was actually to prove it to myself and I’m glad I did it. Really, really good to be back.”

Four-time major winner Ernie Els birdied the final hole to secure third place after closing with an impressive seven under par 65.

“I did almost as much as I could – I set out to try to shoot 65, which I did, and Anthony just played unbelievable. Jeez, what is it, 29 on the back nine? That’s unbelievable stuff”.

Vijay Singh was the best-placed local at one under for the tournament to finish in a share of 25th place.

“I finally beat the golf course – I finished 1 under,” reflected the three-time major winner.

“The wind was different. Every day was not the regular wind. The first day was really strong. Unfortunately, we got the wrong side of the draw but I played well.

“I just threw away too many shots. Like today I could have had a really low one, had a low one going, but I’m happy with the condition of the golf course and everybody’s really happy with what’s going on.”

The 55 year old Singh completed a major redesign of the Natadola Bay Course last year and said there was still work to do.

“The greens are way better than what they used to be. Still need to cut a lot of jungle out to make it more playable, not just for the pros but for the amateurs who come to enjoy the game here,” he said.

“So that’s a work in progress. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, you’ll see a much more playable golf course…but they’re working their butts off and Steve (Lalor) he’s a great superintendent and I think he’s done wonders for the golf course and he’s going to keep doing that.”

 

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