Acharya leads on Day I

Kathmandu, March 16:

Deepak Acharya took a two-stroke lead over Rabi Khadka after the first round of the

CMS Cup Golf Championship here at the par-67 Royal Nepal Golf Club today.

On the day when none of the pros could bring in the under-par card, Acharya carded one-over 68, while Khadka shot three-over 70. Defending champion Shiva Ram Shrestha was third at 71, while fellow home club pro and first edition winner Deepak Thapa Magar finished the day fourth at six-over 73. Surya Sharma and Ramesh Nagarkoti were tied fifth with the score of 75 each.

Acharya, who had a horrible start with two straight bogeys and a triple bogey in the

first three holes, recovered well to finish the front nine at two-over 35. After dropping five shots in the first three holes including a double par at the par-3 third hole, he sank three birdies on the Hole Nos 4, 8 and 9. On the back nine, the Gokarna Golf Club pro had birdies on 10, 12 and 13 and bogeys on 14th and 16th holes.

This was Acharya’s best performance in two years since winning the Pilot Golfers Tournament in March 2007. Apart from the first three holes, I putted well,” said Acharya, who has won a record nine titles so far. “I got my confidence back after the birdie putt on the fourth hole and par putt on the next hole,” added Acharya, Golf Director and Teaching Pro at Gokarna Club.

Rabi Khadka, who carded one-over 34 that put him on top along with Ram Thapa after the first nine holes, shot two-over 36 on the return. He sank two birdies against five bogeys. Thapa played horrible golf to shoot 14-over 48 on the back nine to finish the day at 15-over 82.

Shiva Ram had a disastrous front nine of six-over 39 but the tour leader sank four birdies in his back nine score of two-under 32 to finish the day at

four-over 71. The RNGC pro sank five birdies in total but a double par on the par-three fifth hole, a double bogey and four bogeys put him down on the leaderboard.

“Bad luck,” said Shiva Ram, who has four wins in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2008-09. “All was gone after I dropped five shots on two holes,” added Shiva Ram, who twice found bunker before making two-putt on the par-three fifth hole where he had a double par. On the next hole, Shiva Ram had a double bogey.

Among amateurs, Maj Madan Gurung led the field with the score of nine-over

76. Two strokes adrift was Armyman Dhana Thapa, while Maj MB Limbu finished the day third at 81.

In all, 45 players — 23 pros and 22 amateurs — are taking part in the third edition of the tournament, which has been jointly organised by the Nepal Professional Golfer’s Association (NPGA) and RNGC under the sponsorship of International Society of Medical Education (ISME) Pvt Ltd.