Flawless Nagarkoti catches Shrestha
Kathmandu, May 23
Bhuwan Nagarkoti fired a career best eight-under 64 in the third round of the Surya Nepal Premier and earned a share of lead with No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.
Nagarkoti, who was four-shot off the pace after second day, fired a bogey-free round to catch Shrestha, who carded four-under 68, at 11-under 205. The two will contest in the final round on Thursday with the biggest title of the season and top spot in Order of Merit at stake. Nagarkoti can dethrone Shrestha from the top if the latter faltered to third or worse, but that chance seemed bleak as third-placed Toran Bikram Shahi was six strokes off the pace.
Nagarkoti had fired the personal best of seven-under 61 at the Royal Nepal Golf Club in the season-opener Ghana Shyam’s Professional Golden Jubilee Golf Championship in October last year. And the score also beat his previous best at Gokarna Golf Club, the five-under 67 during the Surya Nepal Challenge in November.
Nagarkoti made a blistering start to the third round firing two straight birdies and added three more on the fourth, eighth and ninth to take the turn at five-under 31. On the back nine, the Gokarna pro earned shots on the 11th, 12th and 17th holes to cap a bogey-free round.
Overnight leader Shrestha, who had opened up two-shot lead after second round, carded two-under 34 on the front nine with the help of birdies on the seventh and ninth holes. The RNGC pro carded a birdie on the 11th but suffered a double bogey on the next hole. But he came back strongly and carded birdies on the 13th, 14th and 17th holes.
Shahi, a regular pro in Indian tour since 1998, carded two-under 70 for the 54-hole total of five-under 211. Shahi bounced back to card a three-under 33 on the back nine after taking a turn at one-over 37. He made a bright start carding a birdie but dropped shots on the sixth and eighth holes. On the back nine, Shahi carded birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes.
Krishna Man Rajbahak (68) and Dhana Bahadur Thapa (70) were further two strokes behind at fourth, whereas Sanjay Lama faltered to 75 and slipped to sixth at 214. Purna Prasad Sharma fired a four-under 68 to move up to seventh at even-par 216 along with amateur golfer Tanka Bahadur Karki.
Rabi Khadka and Jayaram Shrestha were tied for eighth at 217, while Chuda Bahadur Bhandari, Bal Bhadra Rai and Surya Prasad Sharma shared the 10th position at 218.
In amateur section, Karki saw his lead trimmed down to just one stroke after the top golfer faltered to three-over 75. Sunil KC carded one-under 71 to climb to second at one-over 217, while Prithvi Malla faltered to four-over 76 and slipped down to third at 221.
The 10th and final tournament under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18 carries a cash purse of Rs 1.26 million. Top three pros will earn Rs 230,000, Rs 140,000 and Rs 95,000 respectively.