Srinagar: Delhi’s Honey Baisoya returned to his best as he ended a three-year title-drought with his determined display at the J&K Open 2021 Presented by J&K Tourism played at the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar.
There was a reversal in fortune for six-time PGTI winner Baisoya (67-69-66-68), who was struggling for form through the season, as he totaled 18-under 270 for the week following his classy final round of four-under 68 to win by four shots. Honey thus skyrocketed from 85th to 22nd place in the PGTI Order of Merit.
Gurugram-based Veer Ahlawat (67-71-70-66) also made his presence felt in the last round with a score of 66 to finish second at 14-under 274 at the Rs. 40 lakh event.
Patna’s Aman Raj (68-71-70-66) too shot a 66 on day four to take third place at 13-under 275.
Honey Baisoya, the overnight leader by four shots, had a nervy start to the day as he made some tough par putts from five to six feet on the first six holes even as the likes of Angad Cheema and Kartik Sharma were piling on the pressure on the leader with early birdies.
The 25-year-old Honey almost found the hole with his chip on the seventh but eventually tapped-in for his first birdie of the day. A 20-feet birdie conversion followed on the ninth as he made the turn with a two-shot cushion.
Baisoya dropped his first bogey of the tournament when he three-putted on the 13th. That narrowed down his lead over Veer Ahlawat to just two shots. But Honey, who has interestingly won at another hilly course before in Shillong, made a final push for victory with birdies on the 14th and 15th as a result of some long conversions thanks to his new putter.
Baisoya landed his approach from 134 yards to within a foot to set up another birdie on the 17th that all but sealed the deal for him.
An elated Honey, who had just one top-20 from 10 starts in the season prior to this week’s event, said, “It still feels like a dream because till last week I was very low on confidence and not even sure of shooting an under-par score. So this win is all the more special.
“Normally I’m a very aggressive player but with the confidence not being up there I tried to play more conservatively than I usually do. I used the 2-iron a lot and struck it to perfection all week. I also didn’t make mistakes on the green like I had done in preceding events. The goal this week was to make the cut and I ended up winning. So it’s still sinking in.
“I was two-under on the front-nine when Angad (Cheema) was playing really well. When he made birdie on the 10th, I was just two shots ahead and two shots mean nothing in a pressure situation in the final round. When Angad found the water on the 11th the pressure eased up for me.
“I enjoyed each and every moment of playing at this amazing venue, the Royal Springs Golf Course. I was telling my brother on the day we arrived here that it doesn’t matter if we play good or bad, we are blessed that we get to travel to amazing places like Kashmir. I would like to thank J&K Tourism for making this event happen,” added Baisoya, who took home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 6,46,600.
Veer Ahlawat posted his second straight runner-up finish on the PGTI to move up from fifth to third in the Order of Merit. Ahlawat’s last round featured an eagle-two on the par-4 11th where he found the hole with his approach from 108 yards. He also made five birdies and a bogey to gain six spots in round four.
Veer said, “I played a solid final round despite a slow start. My game is in great shape and that is evident from the runner-up finishes in consecutive weeks. Things are really looking up for the remainder of the season.”
Aman Raj’s 66 lifted him seven places to third position. He made seven birdies and a bogey.
Om Prakash Chouhan (66) of Mhow and Panchkula’s Angad Cheema (70) shared fourth place at 12-under 276.
Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar (67) finished a further shot back in sixth place at 11-under 277.
Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa shot the day’s lowest score of 65 to secure tied seventh along with Kartik Sharma (72) of Gurugram at 10-under 278.
Shravan Desai, who was overnight tied second, posted a career-best tied ninth at nine-under 279.
Delhi’s Rashid Khan, PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh and Delhi-based Kshitij Naveed Kaul were bunched in tied 12th at eight-under 280.
Pune-based Olympian Udayan Mane took tied 25th place at three-under 285 while Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa, the last winner at Royal Springs Golf Course, finished tied 32nd at one-under 287.
Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa ended the week in tied 46th at five-over 293.