(From left) Terry Pilkadaris and Tim Stewart of Australia, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Liang Wen-Chong of China all played their way into the Open Championship at the Asian Qualifier held April 1 in Singapore. (Photo: Getty Images)
Birdie-barrage finish lands India's Bhullar in Open
India's Gaganjeet Bhullar birdied three of the last four holes April 1 to earn a spot in the Open Championship at the Asian International qualifying tournament. Also qualifying were China's Liang Wenchong and Australians Terry Pilkadaris and Tim Stewart.
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SINGAPORE (AP) -- India's Gaganjeet Bhullar birdied three of the last four holes Wednesday to earn a place at the British Open with a two-stroke win at the Asian International qualifying tournament.
Bhullar finished with a 4-under 67 Wednesday for a 6-under total 136 after the 36-hole qualifier, taking the first of four spots on offer in the Asian qualifier for the July 16-19 British Open at Turnberry, Scotland.
Chinese No. 1 Liang Wenchong had a 66 in the second round to finish at 4-under at the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course.
One shot behind Liang was Australia's Terry Pilkadaris, who carded a 72 on that contained one eagle, three birdies and five bogeys.
Australia's Tim Stewart secured the fourth and final qualifying spot after a playoff, beating eight other players who finished at 2 under after two rounds.
Bhullar started the second round in a share of eighth place and four shots behind overnight leader Mikko Ilonen of Finland, a former British Amateur Championship winner.
"I actually set a target of 5-under for today, although I managed to finish in 4-under. But it's okay," the 20-year-old Indian said. "I'm really happy now that I'm on my way to the British Open.
"I've been watching the British Open since I was a kid and to actually get to play there is truly a dream come true."
Liang was the first player from mainland China to play all four rounds of the British Open when he made his debut last year. The former Asian No. 1 is again aiming for a weekend finish in the Open.
"I played really well today. My tee shots and putts were all spot-on and I couldn't ask for a better performance," said Liang, who had an eagle and three birdies in his 66. "I hope to continue playing well and hopefully put Asia on the world map with a good showing in July."
Pilkadaris qualified for the British Open in 2007 and was in a strong position overnight, but had bogeys on four of his first nine holes Wednesday.
"I thought I had missed my chance with the way I played today. I had to wait around for a couple of hours and finally when the news came, I'm really relieved," Pilkadaris said.
Stewart said he was making plans to head home when he discovered he was suddenly in contention after two rounds of 70.
"It's pretty heart-stopping stuff out there. I've already booked a taxi to the airport and was called back for the play-off," said Stewart. "I'm simply delighted with the way things are going and this performance definitely ranks right up there at the top for me."
Overnight leader Ilonen missed out on a fifth appearance at the British Open when he carded a 6-over 77 in the second round to finish in a tie for 20th.