Baisoya leads by four shots in J&K Open golf

Honey Baisoya of Delhi, struggling for form for most of the season, is looking for a turnaround in fortune at this week’s J&K Open 2021 Presented by J&K Tourism at the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar.

Six-time PGTI winner Baisoya (67-69-66) has played error-free golf for the first three days of the tournament not having dropped a single bogey. The 25-year-old Baisoya powered ahead into a four-shot lead in round three courtesy of a superb six-under 66 as his total moved to 14-under 202 at the Rs. 40 lakh PGTI event.

Rookie Kartik Sharma (69-72-65), carrying forward the form from his top-20 finishes in the last two weeks, produced the day’s lowest score of 65 to take a leap of 15 spots to tied second at 10-under 206, the PGTI said in a release.

Panchkula’s Angad Cheema (69-71-66) fired a 66 to gain 10 spots and end the day in a share for second place along with Kartik and Ahmedabad’s Shravan Desai (69-68-69) who struck a 69 on Friday.

Baisoya, whose last win came in 2018, has attributed his consistency this week to his top-class striking with the 2-iron and his new putter. Joint leader by one shot after round two, he collected three birdies on the front-nine, one of them being a great recovery with a 12-feet conversion on the seventh where he found the rough twice. Baisoya’s approach from 155 yards lipped out on the ninth but still helped him to a birdie.

On the back-nine, Baisoya picked up three more birdies and importantly made two good par saves as well on the 12th and 18th. The par save from 10 feet on the 12th set the tone for his following birdies on the 13th, 14th, and 17th.

Baisoya, who has just one top-20 in 10 starts in 2020-21 and is placed 85th on the PGTI Order of Merit, said, “I’ve not played well in a while so I was nervous from the start of this event. But I’ve been hitting my 2-iron well and that helped set up a lot of opportunities for me. I made 17 greens in regulation today and 16 each on the first two days.

“My new putter has also helped my scoring. I missed the cut last week because of my poor putting so I’m glad that I changed my putter just a day prior to this week’s event.”

Sharma sank six of his seven birdie putts from a range of 10 to 20 feet during his 65. The southpaw will be looking for yet another good finish following his six top-20s this year.

Angad Cheema, like Sharma, was one of the big gainers on day three thanks to his bogey-free effort of 66. He picked up his first birdie of the day after an outstanding recovery from the fairway bunker on the sixth.Delhi’s Rashid Khan, Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, and Karnal’s Mani Ram were in tied fifth place at nine-under 207 while Pune-based Olympian Uda’an Mane and Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat were a further stroke back in tied eighth position.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh and Delhi-based Kshitij Naveed Kaul were sharing 13th place at six-under 210.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa, the last winner at Royal Springs Golf Course, was tied 26th at two-under 214. Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa was placed tied 37th at even-par 216.