September 17, 2021 8:14:04 pm
Six-time PGTI winner Honey Baisoya of Delhi enjoyed a modest four-shot lead after playing an error-free game for the third successive day at the J&K Open at the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar on Friday.
With one more round to go, Honey hit a superb six-under 66 and took his total to 14-under 202 at the Rs 40 lakh PGTI event.
Rookie Kartik Sharma (69-72-65), in good form with his top-20 finishes in season opener Hyderabad Golconda Masters and Panchkula Players Championship, produced the day’s lowest score of 65 to take a leap of 15 spots to tie second at 10-under 206. Angad Cheema (69-71-66) of Panchkula fired a 66 climbed 10 spots and Shravan Desai (69-68-69) of Ahmedabad struck a 69 on Friday to share the second place with Kartik
Honey, who has been struggling since picking a title in 2018, attributed his consistency in Srinagar to his 2-iron and his new putter.
Overnight joint leader with Khalin Joshi of Bengaluru by one shot, Honey collected three birdies each on the front-nine and back nine.
On the seventh, he found the rough twice but recovered with a 12-feet conversion and on the ninth, Baisoya’s approach from 155 yards lipped out but still helped him to a birdie.
On the back-nine, Baisoya made two good par saves 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.
“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,” said Honey, who last won a title in 2018.
“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.”
Southpaw Kartik sank six of his seven birdie putts from a range of 10 to 20 feet during his 65.
Angad picked up his first birdie on the sixth, an outstanding recovery from the fairway bunker and was bogey-free which took him to 66. Shravan mixed five birdies, on the ninth it was a chip-in, with two bogeys in his round of 69.
Rashid Khan of Delhi, Khalin and Mani Ram of Karnal were in tied fifth place at nine-under 207 while Tokyo Olympian Udayan Mane of Pune 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 in a share of 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.
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