HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Defending champion Shiva Ram Shrestha carded two-under 70 to extend his lead atop the leaderboard over Ram Thapa after the third and penultimate round of the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.
The Nepal No 1 opened up five-stroke lead with the 54-hole total of 12-under 204, while fellow RNGC pro Ram played even-par 72 for a total of seven-under 209. “Overall the round was not satisfactory, especially the back nine,” said Shiva Ram, who took the turn at four-under 32 before settling for two-over 38 on the final nine holes.
“The five-stroke cushion, however, should be comfortable and I am confident of winning the title tomorrow (Thursday),” added Shiva Ram, who struggled for two double bogeys on the back nine. “I was overconfident on the two holes where I suffered double bogeys. Otherwise the score would have been much better,” he added.
Shiva Ram made a flying start with a birdie on the first hole and sank an eagle on the third. He went 14-under for the tournament with another birdie on the seventh but he dropped a shot on the next hole. He amended that mistake with a birdie on the ninth hole.
After taking the turn, Shiva Ram dropped five shots on three holes. After saving a par on the 10th hole, Shiva Ram wasted two shots on the par-5 11th after his second shot from the edge found the water hazard. He then struggled to reach the green and two-putted for a double bogey. Shiva Ram faced similar fate on the 14th hole before making three-putt for a bogey on the 16th. In between, he carded birdies on the 13th and 17th before missing a birdie putt on the final hole.
Ram Thapa, who played 68 and 69 on the first two days, played even-par 72. He made worst possible start with back-to-back bogeys on the first two holes before carding birdies on the sixth and seventh. The back nine was also similar for him, as he hit birdies on the 12th and 13th holes against bogeys on the 14th and 17th holes.
Ramesh Nagarkoti played a round of three-under 69 to climb to third position with a total score of five-under 211, while Deepak Neupane played even-par 72 to share the fourth position with amateur golfer Tashi Tsering (74) at four-under 212.
Rabi Khadka (73) was fifth at three-under 213, while Umesh Nagarkoti was sixth at 214. Ramesh Adhikari (78), Deepak Thapa Magar (72) and Toran Bikram Shahi (72) shared the seventh position with the total score of even-par 216. Sanjay Lama and Rajan Thapa shared the 10th position at 217.
In amatur section, Bikash Bogati (71) was 10 strokes behind leader Tashi at six-over 222. Ashish Pariyar faltered to 77 to remain third at 225, while Sunil KC and HK Singh shared the fourth position at 10-over 226.