HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Rabi Khadka ended three-year title drought when he registered four-stroke victory over fellow RNGC pro Umesh Nagarkoti in the Ghana Shyam Open here at the Tribhuvan Army Officers Golf Club today.
Rabi, who never trailed in the tournament, carded two-under 70 on the final day for a total of five-under 283, while Umesh climbed to second with a total score of one-under 287 after the final round of two-under 70. Veteran Deepak Thapa Magar, who began the final day two shots behind Rabi, squandered an opportunity to win the trophy and ultimately dropped to third at 289. He finished the day at two-over 74.
At one stage, Deepak was just one shot behind the eventual winner but faltered at the end and surrendered the second position to Umesh. After the completion of 12 holes, Deepak was just one stroke behind Rabi and Umesh was further back the veteran pro. But Deepak dropped one shot each on the 13th and 14th and Umesh left him behind with Rabi going three clear atop the board.
“I am extremely happy today as it had been long since I won the trophy last time,” said Rabi, who had bagged two titles on his way to claiming Nepal No 1 ranking in the 2009-10 season of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour. “I played good rounds of golf except for the third one in this tournament and I was able to lift the trophy,” he added.
He also said he did not feel pressure during the whole event. “I began the tournament well and was able to get going on the second day,” he said. “I could not keep the momentum going in the third round, but I had two-stroke cushion going into the final round which was an added advantage for me,” added Rabi, who received the winner’s cheque of Rs 57,000. Umesh got Rs 37,000, while Deepak received Rs 27,000.
Both Rabi and Deepak began the day with birdies and saved pars on next two holes before Rabi managed to widen the lead by four strokes after he carded a birdie and Deepak suffered a bogey on the par-3 fourth hole. But he dropped a shot on the next hole that cut the lead to three shots.
Rabi lost one shot each on fifth and eighth holes, while Deepak suffered a bogey on the seventh. In between, Umesh caught Deepak at one-under total with two-under 34 after the completion of front nine, where Rabi managed one-under and Deepak played even-par.
The back nine started with Rabi four-under and two others chasing at one-under each. Umesh fell behind after he suffered a bogey on the 11th, while Rabi saw his lead cut to one shot on the 12th after he dropped a shot and Deepak carded a birdie. Rabi restored the three-shot lead over both the players on the 13th hole with a birdie. Rabi saved pars on remaining holes to win the tournament, while Umesh outplayed Deepak for the second position.
Nepal No 1 Shiva Ram Shrestha, who played one-under 71, climbed two spots up to fourth with the total score of four-over 292, while joint leader of second round Surya Prasad Sharma faltered to four-over 76 to finish fifth at 293.
Ram Thapa, Deepak Neupane and home club pro Dhana Thapa finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, while Jaya Ram Shrestha, Sanjay Lama and Toran Bikram Shahi were tied for ninth at 298. Defending champion Ramesh Adhikari shared the 15th position with Ramesh Nagarkoti at 19-over 307.
In amateur section, Tashi Tsering registered a massive 15-stroke victory over Dinesh Prajapati. Tashi played 76 today for a total of seven-over 295, while Dinesh shot 73 to finish second at 310. Ashish Pariyar was third at 314.
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, Lt Gen Gaurav SJB Rana and sponsor of the tournament and Nepal PGA Advisor Ghana Shyam Thapa gave away prizes to the winners.