HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Former Nepal No 1 Rabi Khadka carded three-under 69 to take one-shot lead over Surya Prasad Sharma and top golfer Shiva Ram Shrestha on the first day of the Ghana Shyam Open here at the Tribhuvan Army Officers Golf Club today.
After playing even-par 36 on the front nine, the Royal Nepal Golf Club (RNGC) pro Rabi bounced back in the latter half with three birdies to stay atop the leaderboard in the third event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2012-13. Surya and Shiva Ram both carded two-under 70 to share the second spot.
“I played really well, especially on the back nine today,” said Rabi. “Chip-in shots and putting helped me on the back nine,” added Rabi, who played bogey-free round after taking the turn. “There is a long way to go as we have three more rounds to play. With lots of good golfers coming behind, anything can happen,” he added.
Rabi began the day with a birdie on the par-5 first hole before dropping shots on the fourth and sixth. He managed another birdie on the seventh hole to take the turn at even-par 36. Rabi was a different player on the back nine, where he shot three birdies on the 11th, 12th and 16th and saved pars in the remaining holes.
Surya was at his best on the front nine with two birdies on the first and fifth holes and an eagle on the par-5 third. His only blemish came on the fourth hole where he dropped a shot to take the turn at two-under 34. On the back nine, he carded two birdies against as many bogeys to maintain the score.
Another player tied for second, Nepal No 1 Shiva Ram got off to a flier with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on the fifth. He suffered a double bogey on the seventh and a bogey on the ninth hole. After taking the turn at even-par 36, Shiva Ram carded three birdies on the 13th, 16th and 18th holes against a lone bogey on the 15th.
Veteran Deepak Thapa Magar was fourth at one-under 71, while Jaya Ram Shrestha and Umesh Nagarkoti were tied for fifth at 72. Ram Thapa was seventh at 74, while Sanjay Lama, Toran Bikram Shahi and Deepak Acharya were tied for eighth at three-over 75.
In Amateur section, Tashi Tsering opened up a two-shot cushion for the lead with the score of two-over 74. Tashi Ghale and Tirtha Paudel, who both shot four-over 76, shared the second position. A total of 47 players, 25 pros and 22 amateurs, teed off in the tournament sponsored by Nepal PGA Advisor Ghana Shyam Thapa.