A tale of two cuts: How Jeev and Honey turned it around - Hindustan Times
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A tale of two cuts: How Jeev and Honey turned it around

ByJoy Chakravarty, Muscat
Feb 24, 2024 08:04 PM IST

Both lapsed into errors late in their opening round, but found a way to re-set and card 4-under par rounds on Friday

Veteran Jeev Milkha Singh and Honey Baisoya, a relative newcomer to international golf, provided a masterclass on how to handle disappointment in the $2 million International Series Oman.

Jeev Milkha Singh in action.
Jeev Milkha Singh in action.

At 2-under and 1-under par after the second round on Friday, Baisoya and Jeev comfortably made the cut at the premier Asian Tour event, but it was a different story on Thursday when they finished their opening rounds.

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Starting from the 10th tee at Al Mouj Golf Club, 28-year-old Baisoya was cruising at 2-under par after 15 holes when he reached the tough par-5 seventh hole. Two brilliant shots left in the greenside bunker, but what happened thereafter was nightmarish.

Baisoya did not have the best connection with the bunker shot, went over the green to the bunker on the other side, was back in the first bunker with his fifth shot, took two swipes to come out and two-putted for a deflating quadruple-bogey nine. He finished the day at 2-over.

Jeev, at 52 the oldest player in the field, was solid as he played his first 14 holes bogey-free with a solitary birdie. But once he dropped a shot on the 15th hole, he made a bogey in the next three holes coming in to finish at a disappointing 3-over par.

Their reactions after finishing the round could not have been more contrasting.

Jeev was breathing fire.

“That’s unacceptable... I made a bogey on the 15th, which was alright, but instead of taking my medicine and going through my process, I just tried to push harder to get back that shot and made one mistake after another,” he said.

Baisoya could only smile at his misfortune.

“Honestly, the least I should have shot was a 4-under par round. Instead, I was 4-over for a single hole. I am annoyed with myself, but I can only laugh at what I have done,” he said.

Both approached their evenings differently as well.

Baisoya went out for dinner with some of the other Indian players in the field.

“I just tried to forget that hole, and I did a good job in doing that. The moment I took the taxi from the golf course, I was ok. The dinner, tikkas and naan, was very good, and the other boys kept making jokes,” said Baisoya, who is getting married next month.

Jeev had dinner in his hotel room and spoke to his family back home. “It took some time for me to get over it, but I have realised one thing over my long career as a professional golfer – there is no use brooding over something that is in the past. All I needed to do was learn from the mistakes and get better.”

And get better they did. Both shot rounds of 4-under 68 on Friday.

Jeev again showed immaculate ball-striking, often using the driver off the deck to keep the ball under the wind; he was 3-under through 11 holes. He made two bogeys after that but made up with three birdies, including a stunning 25-feet putt on his penultimate hole, the eighth of the course.

“I just told myself one thing this morning… I am playing good golf and I just need to follow my routines and stay in the moment. I did a very good job of that today,” said the two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.

Baisoya moved to 5-under par through 11 holes before making his only bogey on the par-3 13th hole.

He then parred his way in.

“It was a good round and even though I did not strike the ball as well as I did in the first round, I still felt like I left a couple of shots out there,” said Baisoya. “Some days you play great and do not score. Some days you play average and score better. That’s golf.”

Among the Indians who made the cut were Karandeep Kochhar and S Chikkarangappa (both -3), Rashid Khan (-2) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (even-par).

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