Bhullar loses Brunei Open by a whisker, ends runner-up

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Bhullar missed birdie put paid to his chances as he lost a three-way play-off to finish runners-up at the Brunei Open on Sunday.

Updated: August 02, 2009 11:11 IST
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Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei:

Young Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar came agonisingly close to a second successive Asian Tour title but a missed birdie put paid to his chances as he lost a three-way play-off to finish runners-up at the Brunei Open here on Sunday.

Bhullar, who returned a two-under 69 in the final round, could have become the first player to win back-to-back titles on the Asian Tour this season had the 21-year-old birdied his closing shot on the 18th hole from eight feet.

"I had a very good second shot on my 72nd hole but I clearly misread the line," said Bhullar, who won the Indonesian Open Invitational last week.

Bhullar managed four birdies - including a hat-trick from the first to third hole - against a couple of bogeys.

Australia's Darren Beck completed a remarkable comeback by winning the title after sinking in a birdie on the third play-off hole.

Beck, who had started his final round six shots off the lead, fired a sparkling six-under 65 to force a three-way play-off with Bhullar and Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit after the pair returned with 13-under-par 271 total in regulation play.

When Boonchu bogeyed his shot at the second play-off hole and Beck and Bhullar making pars each, it was down to the par-four ninth hole to decide the winner at the $300,000 Asian Tour event.

The 32-year-old Australian sealed his career breakthrough on the Asian Tour when he birdied from 10 feet even as Bhullar could only par his shot.

"I would like to congratulate Darren for his overdue victory and he really deserves his victory," said Bhullar.

Among other Indians, C Muniyappa faltered in the final round, cardinmg a one-over 72 to finish tied 13th with a total of nine-under 275.

Anirban Lahiri signed off tied 18th after a 67 in the final round left him seven-under overall. Chiragh Kumar was further down at tied 29th after returning an even-apr 71 to total five-under 279.

Gaurav Ghei (70) ended tied 49th with a total of one-under 283.

Leading final round scores 271 - Darren Beck (AUS) 71-67-68-65, Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 65-71-64-71, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 67-71-64-69 (Beck defeated Bhullar after the third play-off hole) 272 - David Gleeson (AUS) 66-69-69-68 273 - Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 68-68-68-69, Lu Chien-soon (TPE) 65-71-67-70, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 65-71-67- 70, Scott Barr (AUS) 66-67-69-71 274 - Shaaban Hussin (MAS) 67-68-69-70, Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 74-65-67-68, Kodai Ichihara (JPN) 71-64-68-71, Jay Bayron (PHI) 69-65-67-73.

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