Mane clinches a thriller

Mane clinches a thriller

Heartbreak for Baisoya on the final hole

Mane clinches a thriller

Scores were tied at the top as players and fans alike readied themselves to make the walk back to the 18th tee box in anticipation of a play-off. Honey Baisoya and Udayan Mane were tied on 20-under and former faced a three-foot putt for par under glorious conditions at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA).

But the cruel nature of sport was made evident as the young Baisoya (269) watched the ball lip out of the hole and could only  salvage a bogey.

There was an expressions of shock rather ecstasy to begin with but as it slowly sunk in, Mane, who was doused in beer by his fellow golfers,  was overjoyed with a fantastic comeback victory at the Bengaluru Open Golf Championship on Saturday. Mane, following a final round four-under 68, finished at 268.

One has to feel for the budding Baisoya since he played some sublime golf through the tournament before suffering a late meltdown. "I almost broke down into tears when I went into the dressing room after the final hole. I did get really emotional especially since I was already thinking of the play-off. Some things are just not meant to be, I guess," said the downcast 21-year-old admitting that he over-hit the putt slightly.

To be fair, champion Mane has been the best golfer  over the last two rounds and to close a three-shot gap in two rounds, against a man who was  barely putting a foot wrong, is  no mean feat.

Being humble in victory, he said: "I am really overjoyed with the victory but feel for Honey at the same time. If I had the option, I'd  say both of us shared the victory. Thought I was heading for a bogey on the 18th but I manged quite well."

Victory takes Mane to the top of the Order of Merit standings and his tournament score  bettered  Bengaluru lad S Chikkarangappa's previous 72-hole course record of 13-under-275, set at the   TAKE Open last year.

He began the final round in the same vein, nailing birdies on the first two holes. Baisoya though kept his narrow lead as he matched Mane on both the par-4 holes.

It promised to be a fight to the finish  from the 12th hole with both golfers on 20-under.

Like Mane termed it,  there was a battle of his prowess versus Baisoya's luck that was unfolding.

After both failed to capitalise on  couple of instances, the tricky par-4 17th could have seen Baisoya seal the deal but  missed putts seemed to be the theme for him on the day.

Hitting his tee-shot into the woods, Baisoya had an advantage  as the ball rebounded off the trees and onto the fairway but his luck deserted him on the green as the six-foot putt  flirted with the edge of the  hole agonisingly and  stayed out.

All square and with one hole to play, a play-off seemed most likely but  fate had other plans for Mane as nerves got the better of Baisoya.

A strong  five-under 67  from Harendra Gupta (271) saw him claim sole third with local favourites Khalin Joshi and Rahil Gangjee finishing tied-fourth after carding 274.


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