Amateur golfer Karki opens up two-stroke lead

Dharan, December 28

Amateur golfer Tanka Bahadur Karki opened up a two-stroke lead over Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha and his national team member Sukra Bahadur Rai after the second round of the Surya Nepal Eastern Open here at the par-70 Nirvana Country Club today.

Karki, who shared the first-round lead with Shrestha after the duo fired four-under 66, carded three-under 67 today to post the 36-hole total of seven-under 133. He will go into the final round on Friday with two-stroke advantage over Shrestha (69) and Rai (67), who shared the second position at five-under 135.

Karki, the winner of the Bhutan Amateur Championship in Thimpu in September, took the turn at two-under 34 and played one-under 33 on the back nine. Karki made a bright start with two straight birdies on the second and third holes before sinking an eagle on the par-4 fifth. He then dropped shots on the eighth and ninth holes. On the back nine, Karki dropped a shot on the 15th against birdies on the 12th and 17th holes.

Top pro Shrestha played even-par 36 on the front nine before carding one-under 33 on the latter half. He made a disastrous start with a double bogey before recovering with an eagle on the second and a birdie on the sixth. But he faced a bogey on the ninth. On the back nine, Shrestha did card three birdies on the 10th, 12th and 17th but he was undone by bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes.

Another amateur golfer, Rai shot three-under 33 on the front nine and maintained the score. Rai, who paired up with Karki to win the team trophy in Thimpu, carded birdies on the second, sixth, seventh and ninth holes and dropped a shot on the fourth before taking the turn. On the back nine, he faced three bogeys on the 13th, 15th and 17th against birdies on the 10th, 12th and 18th holes.

Second-ranked Sanjay Lama carded even-par 70 to drop one spot down to fourth overall at three-under 137, while Bhuwan Nagarkoti — who returned with the best card of the day firing a four-under 66 that included five birdies and a bogeys —moved up to fifth along with debutante Shiva Kumar Majhi (68) at one-under 139. Local pro Bal Bhadra Rai was tied for seventh with local amateur player Niraj Tamang (67) at even-par 140, whereas Jayaram Shrestha (73) and Deepak Magar (70) shared the ninth position at 141.

The cut was applied at seven-over 147 with 27 players — 21 pros and six amateurs — making it to the final round. In all, 61 golfers — 30 pros and 31 amateurs — are taking part in the fourth event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18. The 54-hole tournament is organised by Nepal Professional Golfers Association under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd.

Out of the total cash purse of Rs 630,000, top three pros will receive Rs 115,000, Rs 74,000 and Rs 53,000 respectively. The tournament will conclude with Pro-Am event on Saturday.