Udayan Mane won the Bengaluru Open golf championship in the most dramatic of finishes at the KGA here on Saturday.
Udayan and nearest rival Honey Baisoya entered the final par-5 18th hole tied on 20-under overall scores. After a wayward tee-shot, Udayan recovered well to save par. Baisoya — lucky to see his tee-shot bounce off the trees and into play — was eventually left with a 3-feet putt to save par and force a playoff. With a large crowd watching the grandstand finish, a nervous Baisoya missed the simple putt. A shocked Baisoya returned a bogey, allowing Udayan to take the title by one stroke.
When the enormity of his error dawned on Baisoya a short while later, it was all too much to take. “I cried in the changing room. I was overcome with emotion,” Baisoya, who held a two-shot lead overnight, said, “I over-hit the putt because I was affected by nerves. I couldn’t hold it together in that pressure moment. My mind went blank.”
A sympathetic Udayan, who won his third PGTI tournament of the season, exuded sportsmanship when he consoled his forlorn competitor. “Baisoya’s miss genuinely hurt me too. It was hard to watch. I feel that both Baisoya and I won this tournament. I told him not to worry, and that he is a talented player who has a bright future,” Udayan said.
The winner took home Rs. 15 lakh, while Baisoya received Rs. 10 lakh. Udayan (Rs. 36,58,851 in total earnings this season) sits on top of the PGTI Order of Merit list, while Baisoya (Rs. 28,33,288 total earnings) lies third. Shamim Khan (Rs. 29,58,250), who finished tied-sixth here, is second.
The build-up to the crescendo saw Udayan erase his two-shot deficit by the end of the 12th hole. The duo then made par on the next five holes. Baisoya nearly fell out of the reckoning in the 17th hole, when he pulled his tee-shot far wide. Much like the fortunate circumstances he encountered on the 18th hole, the ball ricocheted off the tress and landed kindly. “It seemed like everything was going Baisoya’s way, but I suppose things got evened out in the end,” Udayan stated.
Harendra Gupta, whose five-under 67 was the best round in the leader-group, finished third. A six-under 66 card saw Bengaluru lad Khalin Joshi jump five places to tied-fourth.
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