Kathmandu, May 18
Nepal Golf Association today honoured three amateur golfers — Sukra Bahadur Rai, Tanka Bahadur Karki and Subash Tamang — who won professional events in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2018-19 that concluded yesterday.
National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista and President of NGA Tashi Ghale handed over Rs 50,000 each to Rai and Karki, while Tamang, who was not present at the programme, received Rs 25,000. The NGA also handed over two golf sets and 300 range balls each to Sunsari and Kaski district associations to conduct youth programmes. NGA General Secretary CB Bhandari, Treasurer Kishan Agrawal and President of Kathmandu Golf Association Madan Rana were also present on the occasion.
All three amateur golfers are the products of youth development programme organised by the NGA. Rai won the flagship event of the Tour, Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship at the Gokarna Golf Club on Thursday for his second major title of the season.
He had also claimed the title of the Surya Nepal Eastern Open in December last year.
He defeated top pro Shivaram Shrestha in the Eastern Open, while he edged past new Nepal No 1 Bhuwan Nagarkoti in the Premier.
Apart from both pro and amateur titles in the two events, Rai also won the amateur section trophies in the Surya Nepal Western Open and Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open. The 21-year-old Rai had teamed up with Karki to win the team event gold medal in the Orion 34th Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship in January. The Dharan-based golfer has already represented the country in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final four times since participating in the Faldo Series Nepal Championship for the first time in 2012. Rai also led the Province-1 team to gold medal finish in the eighth National Games in April.
Another golfer, Karki also bagged a title in the Tour winning the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship apart from amateur section trophy in the Golfer Pilots NPGA Classic.
The 27-year-old golfer won the eighth National Games gold medal in individual section with the record score of 12-under 276 at the Gokarna Golf Club in April.
Karki, who was brought to Nepal from Bhutan by NGA President Ghale in 2012, has already grabbed more than dozen amateur titles in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour since making the debut the same year. Karki, who got enrolled in the youth development programme, and fellow national team member Rai clean swept the Bhutan Amateur Open in 2017. Karki won the individual section gold medal and the duo finished first in team event. Karki also claimed gold medals in Nepal Amateur Open and NSC Championship last year.
Likewise, Tamang became the youngest winner in the Surya Tour Golf Tour when he won the Surya Nepal Challenge at the age of 17. Tamang, who came into the eyes of NGA officials during the youth programme, defeated pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti by one stroke to win the maiden title.
Tamang was the overall winner of the Faldo Series Nepal Championship in January and was the member of the Tribhuvan Army Club that bagged team event silver in the eighth National Games in April.
NSC Member Secretary Bista congratulated the golfers for their outstanding performance and lauded the efforts of the NGA. “The NGA is an active association in terms of organising events and sending players to different countries for tournaments and training.
The NGA now needs to focus on winning medals in international events as we have high hopes from golf in the upcoming 13th South Asian Games,” said Bista. “We are way behind in infrastructure compared to other countries but the NSC is committed to support in the development of golf and the players,” he added.
NGA President Ghale requested the NSC to help the association in sending the players for foreign training to prepare for the SA Games.
“The performance of these players has shown that they have reached to that level. But they need regular training to compete at higher level and we should arrange that for them,” said Ghale. “We have worked really hard to shape up these players and I will resign from the post if we fail to win gold medal in the regional meet,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on May 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.