Top pro Shrestha closes in on Kathmandu Open title

Kathmandu, November 29

Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha closed in on 43rd career with a six-stroke lead after the penultimate round of the Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open here at the Royal Nepal Golf Club today.

Shrestha, who won the season-opening Surya Nepal Central Open last month, carded one-under 67 in the third round for the total score of 11-under 193. Shrestha, the most successful pro with 42 titles under his belt, had opened with an impressive round of six-under 62 and shot a 64 on the second day.

Shrestha bounced back with three-under 31 after taking the turn at two-over 36. After dropping three shots on the first three holes — a double bogey on the second and a bogey on the next, Shrestha carded two straight birdies. But he went on to face his second bogey of the front nine on the sixth. On the back nine, Shrestha faced a bogey on 15th  hole against four birdies on the 10th, 13th, 14th and 16th.

Two players — Army Club pro Dhana Bahadur Thapa and national amateur team member Sukra Bahadur Rai  — shared the second position, six shots behind leader  Shrestha at five-under 199. Thapa moved to second position after a round of three-under 65, while Rai carded even-par 68.

Thapa took the turn at one-over 35 before firing four-under 30 on the back nine. Thapa dropped shots on the third and ninth holes against a birdie on the seventh before taking the turn. Thapa shot four birdies on the 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th in the bogey-free back nine.

Likewise, Dharan golfer Rai — who had a Hole-in-One on the eighth hole — carded one-under 33 on the front nine after bogeys on the first and seventh holes against a birdie on the fifth. He began the back nine with a birdie but went on to drop shots on the 14th and 16th holes. Rai was two strokes ahead of fellow national team member Tanka Bahadur Karki — who carded even-par 68 for the total score of 201.

Bikash Adhikari slipped to fourth after he played a round of two-over 70 for the total score of four-under 200. Rame Magar was sixth at 203 after he played three-over 71, while defending champion Bhuwan Nagarkoti carded three-under 65 to move up to seventh at even-par 204. Rajendra Thapa Magar was eighth at 209, while Deepak Magar and Jayaram Shrestha shared the ninth position at six-over 210.

A total of 41 golfers, 33 pros and eight amateurs, are taking part in the tournament organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd.

The event carries a total purse of Rs 551,250 and the winner will bag a cheque of Rs. 95,000, Runner up will take home Rs. 65,000 and third place will earn Rs. 55,000. Others in the top 21 will also receive their share of cash prizes.