Tour Report: Sweet maiden victory for Honey Baisoya at Chief Minister’s Meghalaya Open Golf 2016
Shillong, Meghalaya, November 13, 2016: It was a sweet maiden professional victory for twenty-year-old Honey Baisoya at the Chief Minister’s Meghalaya Open Golf 2016. Delhi-lad Baisoya shot a resolute four-under-66 in the final round of the Rs. 40 lakh event at the Shillong Golf Course to come home the champion by two shots with a tournament tally of nine-under-271.
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta returned a 69 in round four to take the second spot at seven-under-273.
Honey Baisoya (70-68-67-66), who was one off the lead after round three, erased the overnight deficit with ease by producing the final day’s best score of 66 thereby joining the winner’s circle on the PGTI.
Baisoya, only 20-years-old but playing his fourth season as a professional, had come close to winning a few times in the past before he finally nailed it with a determined effort in front of a huge gallery at the scenic Shillong Golf Course on Sunday.
Honey was steady through the front-nine making a birdie and two good par saves, both from 15 feet, on the eighth and ninth. However, it was the 10-feet eagle conversion on the 10th that really powered Baisoya ahead of his nearest rivals Harendra Gupta, Shankar Das and Om Prakash Chouhan, all of whom were struggling to hit the right notes.
Baisoya, who had five previous top-10s to his credit this year including a runner-up finish at Chennai, held on to his advantage with another good par save from 10 feet on the 11th. A 30-feet birdie conversion on the 15th made Honey the favourite for the title even though he underwent some anxious moments after the bogey on the next hole.
Honey finally drove the green on the par-4 17th for his final birdie of the day that ensured him victory.
Baisoya said, “It’s a special feeling winning my first professional title. Even though I’m still just 20 years old but I’ve been playing professional golf for four years and thus have had to wait a long time for my first win.
“I had missed the cut the last time in Shillong in 2014 but this time I adapted well to the conditions and improved my scores with every round. After an even-par opening round, I told myself that I had to score two to three under on each day to stay in contention. That’s what I ended up doing.
“I was consistent through the week and importantly didn’t miss any putts within 10 feet on the final day. The eagle on the 10th as well as the three par-saves on the eighth, ninth and 11th were a huge morale-booster for me.
“It was only on the 16th that I realized I was leading by two shots. However, I didn’t really feel the pressure of closing in on victory and played solid on the last two holes. It would now be great to end the year inside the top-10 of the Rolex Ranking.”
Baisoya, who took home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 6,00,000, has now jumped up from 15th place to fifth position in the Rolex Ranking. His season’s earnings read Rs. 18,65,145. Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa continues to lead the rankings with earnings of Rs. 24,06,640.
Harendra Gupta (71-69-64-69), the joint overnight leader, struggled with his ball-striking on the final day and thus couldn’t pose a serious challenge to Baisoya. He mixed four birdies with three bogeys in his final round 69 to secure second place.
Kolkata’s Shankar Das (70) and Om Prakash Chouhan (73) of Mhow, the other two joint leaders from round three, slipped on the last day to finish third at six-under-274 and fourth at three-under-277 respectively.
Among the Shillong-based professionals, Jeevan Sharma and Bishnu Chettri finished a respectable tied 46th at 15-over-295 while Gautam Lama was tied 53rd at 19-over-299.
Final Scores after Round 4 (72 holes):
271: Honey Baisoya (70-68-67-66)
273: Harendra Gupta (71-69-64-69)
274: Shankar Das (70-66-68-70)
277: Om Prakash Chouhan (69-69-66-73)
278: M Dharma (70-69-70-69)