HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
POKHARA: CB Bhandari carded one-under 72 to take one-shot lead after the first round of the Surya Nepal Western Open here at the Himalayan Golf Course today.
Bhandari, who is yet to win in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour, carded two-under 35 on the front nine and scored one-over 37 on the back nine at the par-73 course to stay atop the leaderboard, one stroke ahead of Nepal No 1 and defending champion Shiva Ram Shrestha. Shiva Ram, who also carded two-over 35 on the front nine, suffered two bogeys on the last two holes to sign in the even-par 73 card.
Bhandari’s bogey-free front nine included birdies on the second and third holes, while he suffered two straight bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes against a lone birdie on the 13th hole. “It was overall a good round. I played better than I had expected,” said Bhandari. “I hit the ball straight and putted well. The best part is I did not play a single bad shot throughout the round,” added Bhandari, whose best performance in the Tour is the third place finish in the 2009 NPGA President’s Cup.
“The one stroke cushion is nothing in this course but I will put in all the efforts to preserve the lead and lift the first title of my career,” said Bhandari, adding the weather condition in the afternoon was too hot to cope with. “It was fabulous in the morning but the hot weather condition made it difficult for us to play the back nine,” said Bhandari.
Shiva Ram too shot two-under 35 on the front nine with the help of an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole and a birdie on the ninth against a lone bogey on the fifth hole. Shiva Ram maintained the score until the 16th hole before having two straight bogeys on the last two holes.
Sanjay Lama shot two-over 75 to stay third, whereas veteran Deepak Thapa Magar was fourth at 76. Umesh Nagarkoti and Ramesh Adhikari were tied for fifth at 78, while Sharma siblings Pashupati and Surya shared the seventh position with the score of five-over 78. Ramesh Nagarkoti, Mani Rai and Rajan Thapa shot six-over 79 to share the ninth position.
In Amateur section, Wangchen Dhondup and Ram Baniya were the joint leaders with the score of seven-over 80, whereas Shankar Baniya lie third at 81. Tirtha Paudel, Sanjeev CK and Sunil KC were tied for fourth at 10-over 83.
A total of 48 golfers — 23 pros and 25 amateurs — teed off the 13th edition of the Western Open. Cut will be applied after the second round, with 20 pros and nine amateurs making it to the final round of the Rs 467,000 event, the second tournament under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2012-13. The winner will receive Rs 88,000, while the runner-up and third-placed pros will get Rs 57,000 and Rs 40,700 respectively.