Kumar Kami and Jayaram Shrestha played flawless rounds to earn share of lead after the opening round of the season-opening Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open here at the Royal Nepal Golf Club today.

Kami carded a bogey-free six-under 62, while Shrestha matched the scores despite facing a bogey to open the Surya Nepal Golf Tour campaign on a high at the par-68 course. Kami carded three each birdies on either half.

He was three-under in the first five holes after carding birdies on the first, fourth and fifth before he saved pars on next four to take the turn at an impressive 31. He began the back nine with three straight birdies to go six-under and maintained the score till the end.

Shrestha made a flying start with an eagle before carding birdies on the third and seventh holes but he faced a bogey on the ninth.

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On the bogey-free back nine, Shrestha earned shots on the 11th, 13th and 16th holes.

They are one stroke ahead of Bhuwan Kumar Rokka and top pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti. All of the top four pros had taken the turn at three-under 31 but only Kami and Shrestha could match the front nine score on the latter half to share the lead. Rokka was also on his way to returning with matching score as he was five-under with birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, 10th and 12th holes but he dropped a shot on the 14th. Rokka earned a shot on the last hole that earned him the share of third position with Nagarkoti. The Nepal No 1 pro Nagarkoti played a bogey-free round with the help of an eagle on the fourth and birdies on the eighth, 13th and 18th holes.

On a day when seven players broke the par, Rabi Khadka carded four-under 64 to stay fifth, while Dhana Bahadur Thapa and Sanjay Lama shared the sixth position at 67. Nepal No 1 amateur golfer and the 13th South Asian Games double gold medallist Subash Tamang carded even-par 68 to share the eighth position with three pros - Krishna Man Rajbahak, Dinesh Prajapati and Ramesh Adhikari.

Bhimsen Chaulagain was alone at 12th with the score of one-over 69, while Pradeep Kumar Lama, Binod Tamang, Niraj Tamang and Surya Prasad Sharma shared the 13th position at 70.

Top amateur Tamang shot evenpar 34 on either half. He carded a birdie on the fourth but dropped a shot immediately on the next hole before taking the turn. He then shot two birdies against as many bogeys on the back nine to return level-par card. Maj Nischaya Jung Rayamajhi was four strokes behind Tamang at four-over 72, while Suresh Tamang was further one shot behind at 73.

In all, 55 players - 40 pros and 15 amateurs - are taking part in the first event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2021-22 that offers a cash purse of Rs 640,000. Top three winners will receive Rs 110,000, Rs 74,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively.

Revising its prize policy, the PGA Nepal has decided to award only top 21 pros from this edition introducing the count back system in case of tie in the last position.

A version of this article appears in the print on December 7, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.