Can India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu complete a rare feat at the Macau Open – three wins in three weeks?
The 29-year-old is living the dream with back-to-back wins in Taiwan and Japan, and starts the final round in Macau only one shot behind leader Gaganjeet Bhullar
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu is on the threshold of doing something few golfers have achieved – winning three tournaments in a row.
With back-to-back victories in Taiwan and Japan, the 29-year-old has put himself right in contention for a hat-trick as he starts the final day of the US$500,000 Macau Open only one shot behind long-time leader, friend and compatriot Gaganjeet Bhullar.
“I thought two was a great feat … as wins in golf are so rare,” Sandhu said after battling tough, windy conditions in the third round at the Macau Golf & Country Club.
“But three would be … I can’t even put it into words what it would mean. A lot has to go your way to win. You need to get a few lucky breaks. I’ll just do my best and see what happens.”
Sandhu’s best has been more than good enough in the past two weeks – winning his maiden Asian Tour title at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taiwan, then travelling to Saitama and winning the Taiheiyo Club Challenge tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour.
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“I have also been playing really well on the domestic tour in India,” said Sandhu, who is from Chandigarh. “I’ve had a win and a lot of top fives and been in contention a lot.
“The more you get in that position, the more you get accustomed to it and the more you get comfortable with it. That’s what it’s all about. You really need to understand yourself and your game.”
Sandhu is also accustomed to playing with Bhullar, the 2012 Macau Open winner who has seven Asian Tour titles to his name.
“We are pretty good friends,” said Sandhu, who has shot rounds of 66, 67 and 71 to stand at nine-under par 204.
“We were on the national team together for six or seven years. All the Indian boys are pretty close. When on tour you tend to mingle with the same crowd.
“But both of us are fierce competitors and we have had a lot of battles going back to junior golf.”
Bhullar (64, 65, 74) started the third round with a four-shot lead, stretched it to five at one stage but made a couple of “big errors” with a double bogey and a triple bogey.
“My goal [on Sunday] is to follow my processes and live up to my expectations,” Bhullar said. “I’m excited.”
Hung Chien-yao of Taiwan raced into contention with the day’s best score – a six-under 65 – to be in a share of second with Sandhu.
Angelo Que (67-67-71) of the Philippines and Wolmer Murillo (67-72-66) of Venezuela are at eight under, two strokes back and look the only other players capable of winning the title.