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Sunday, 05 August 2018
Gaganjeet Bhullar  (Getty Images)
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Getty Images)

Gaganjeet Bhullar turned in 33 to get to 11 under and stay one shot ahead heading into the back nine during the final round of the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways.

The Indian began the day with a one-shot lead at Natadola Bay Golf Club and maintained that advantage as he went in search of a first European Tour title, with New Zealander Ben Campbell his closest rival.

Four-time Major Championship winner Ernie Els was then at nine under, a shot ahead of Australians Jarryd Felton and Anthony Quayle, and two clear of Jake McLeod.

All of the players in the top six are seeking a first European Tour title barring South African Els, who would move alongside Ian Woosnam with 29 wins should he claim his first triumph since the 2013 BMW International.

Els had finished birdie-birdie on Saturday and he carried that momentum into the final round, eagling the par five first with a chip to get within one of the lead.

Terry Pilkadaris was another man who finished round three with two gains and he made it three in a row to join Bhullar at the top, with playing partner Campbell also making a birdie to get to seven under.

The opening hole was proving gettable and when the final group of the day got under way, Bhullar, Felton and McLeod all made birdies, edging Bhullar back ahead.

Campbell had taken a four-shot lead into the weekend before slipping back wth a 77 but he appeared to have regained his form and made it two birdies in a row as the group in second swelled to four.

An Els birdie then meant he was three under after three and there were six players within a shot of the lead.

The early birdie blitz continued and with Campbell making it three in a row and Pilkadaris making a second gain of the day on the third, there was a three-way tie at the top.

The third was seemingly proving as gettable as the first, with first Felton joining the lead, but Bhullar then followed him in from six feet to get back to where he had started the day - one clear of the pack.

Another birdie on the fourth put Bhullar two ahead but Pilkadaris went tumbling in the other direction, dropping seven shots in five holes from the fourth to drop out of contention.

Els dropped a shot on the fifth but regained it on the par five ninth after getting on the green in two as he turned in 33.

Bhullar failed to get up and down on the seventh to see his lead cut to one and McLeod was alongside Campbell within a shot of the lead as he birdied the same hole.

Felton bogeyed the seventh and added another on the eighth, with McLeod also dropping a shot as Bhullar did well to make par.

After five pars in a row, Campbell birdied the ninth from six feet to join the lead but Bhullar laid up and left himself a tap-in to get back to 11 under on the same hole.

Els was enjoying the par fives and he spun his approach to the 11th to eight feet for another birdie but playing partner Quayle was just a shot behind after holing a long putt of his own for a gain.

Earlier, Quayle had birdied the first, fifth, sixth - via a chip-in - and ninth with a bogey on the fourth.

Felton was alongside him after a birdie on the ninth, with McLeod bogeying the same hole.

Andrew Dodt, Steven Jeffress and Poom Saksansin were six under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BHULLAR, GaganjeetIND18-14
2QUAYLE, AnthonyAUS18-13
T3ELS, ErnieRSA18-12
T3CAMPBELL, BenNZL18-12
5FELTON, JarrydAUS18-10
T6SAKSANSIN, PoomTHA18-8

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