Digboi, Assam: Delhi’s Honey Baisoya seems poised for back-to-back wins on the PGTI. The 20-year-old who won in Shillong last week, stretched his overnight lead to a substantial six shots in round three of the IndianOil Servo Masters 2016 after he fired the week’s best score of eight-under-64 at the Digboi Golf Links on Friday. Baisoya’s total stood at 18-under-198 on the penultimate day.
Delhi’s Kapil Kumar, Honey’s cousin, continued to occupy second place as a result of his three-under-69 on day three of the Rs. 35 lakh event.
Honey Baisoya (67-67-64), the overnight leader by one stroke, continued his golden run on the PGTI as he came up with a fantastic 64 in the third round. Baisoya, currently placed fifth in the Rolex Ranking, converted three putts from 10 to 15 feet on the front-nine to register two birdies and an eagle.
Another birdie on the seventh and an eagle for the third straight day on the 14th, where he once again drove the green, helped Honey race away into a five-shot lead even as his nearest rival Kapil stumbled with a bogey on the 13th. The chip-in for birdie from the bunker on the 18th was the icing on the cake for Baisoya as it gave him a healthy six-shot advantage going into the final round.
Honey, who began the tournament as the eagle leader with 12 eagles to his name, has so far added five more this week, including two in round three, in the process taking his tally to 17 and breaking Rashid Khan’s previous record for most eagles in a season which was 15 in 2014.
Baisoya said, “I feel I’m in the zone right now and I want to make the most of my good form. I didn’t make any mistakes today and putted even better than the first two rounds. I’ve made some excellent recoveries to make birdies through the week and that trend continued with the birdie from the bunker on the last hole.
“The 14th has been a special hole for me. I’m driving it really well on that hole and drove the green for the third straight day today for a third eagle there in as many days. I was aware that I had 12 eagles at the start of the tournament but I didn’t know about the season’s record. Nonetheless, I set myself a target to make at least 16 eagles this year. As it turns out, the two eagles today helped me break the PGTI record for the season. It feels great to have achieved that.
“I tried to maximize my lead today in order to have an easier final round. However, I’m also happy for my cousin Kapil who is playing really well. We kept motivating each other through the round today. I will try to keep the intensity going in the final round but at the same time also wish Kapil all the best for a good finish.”
Baisoya is now also poised to join Ashok Kumar as the only other player to win his first two titles on the PGTI in consecutive events. The other golfers who have back-to-back wins on the PGTI (but not their first two wins) are Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shamim Khan, Anirban Lahiri and Mithun Perera.
Kapil Kumar (66-69-69), four years senior to cousin Honey, mixed four birdies with a bogey for his 69 on day three. Kapil had some early birdies after he sank a 25-footer on the second and recovered well from the hazard on the third. He kept pace with Honey till the 12th but fell back after his bogey on the 13th. Kapil ended his day at 12-under-204.
Gurgaon-based Manu Gandas, another youngster, was placed third at six-under-210 thanks to his third round of 69.
Defending champion Shankar Das (71) of Kolkata shared fourth place with three-time champion Mukesh Kumar (73) of Mhow and Delhi’s Shivendra Singh Sisodia (69) at five-under-211.
Noida’s Rahul Bajaj carded an excellent 65 to close the day in tied seventh along with four others at four-under-212.
Leading scores after Round 3 (54 holes):
198: Honey Baisoya (67-67-64)
204: Kapil Kumar (66-69-69)
210: Manu Gandas (67-74-69)
211: Shivendra Singh Sisodia (72-70-69), Shankar Das (73-67-71), Mukesh Kumar (69-69-73)