But in this hour of triumph, one that has taken time to come since his sixth win on Tour in April 2018, Honey would have surely reflected and smiled at the uncanny similarities with his first win in Shillong almost six years ago.
The Chief Minister’s Meghalaya Cup was all about a breakthrough he had not prepared for, quite like this week at Srinagar’s Royal Springs Golf Course.
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In fact, Honey almost did not tee-off that week, and it was about history. “That win is special because I did not even want to go there as I missed cut there the first time. I promised myself I would not go to Shillong if I had a win before that. I played a few tournaments but did not perform well, so did not have an option but to go there,” he said.
Once he got going, it was about statistics taking over. “On the first day, I played 1-over par and the target was to make cut as I was not confident on that course. But thanks to the par-5 No 10, I played 7-under on that hole that week and finished the tournament at 9-under to win by two shots,” he said.
Cut to the present.
This week happened on the back of missing out in Hyderabad and Panchkula since the Tour restarted at the beginning of the month. In fact, this extended season has been about traversing from missed cut to another with the odd four rounds thrown in between. To top it, the last time the Tour came visiting Srinagar in 2014, Honey failed to last beyond two rounds, quite like Shillong.
Expectations would have been zilch when Honey got going in Royal Springs. If anything played on the mind, it was to make the weekend, and the opening day’s card of 5-under par and T2 would have been taken with guarded optimism.
Honey’s run on the domestic circuit is testimony to his vow to never give up till it is over. The motto has paid off in the past, and couple it with the aggressive style he imbibed in the formative years; it has been a heady combination.
But these were different times. The confidence was low and the putter not behaving, a reason he attributed to missing cut at the Players Championship last week, it was about not getting ahead of himself. But once the summit was reached on Day 2, natural instinct took over and ensured he stayed there despite Honey’s claim that he chose to be not overly aggressive.
There is another link from that week of November 2016 to now. The cheque of Rs 6 lakh remained his biggest winner’s prize for long. The threshold has been crossed with an earning of Rs 6,46,600. Srinagar signals a turnaround, one that will see Honey at his aggressive best on the golf course.
Photo credit: Honey Baisoya