Shrestha takes two-stroke lead after first round

Kathmandu, July 4

Jayaram Shrestha was the surprise leader of the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Shrestha, elder brother of top pro Shivaram, carded four-under 68 to take two-stroke lead over fellow RNGC pro Rabi Khadka and amateur Tashi Tshiring in the seventh and final event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2015-16. Shrestha, who is yet to win a major trophy, carded three birdies on the second, third and seventh holes to take the turn at three-under 33 before playing one-under 35 on the back nine that included birdies on the 10th and 12th holes against a lone bogey on the final hole.

Khadka and Tshiring shared the second position at two-under 70. The former Nepal No 1 pro Khadka saved pars on eight holes and carded a birdie on the fifth for one-under 35 on the front nine. He went four-under with the help of birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes before dropping shots on the 16th and 18th holes. Likewise, Tshiring carded two birdies against a bogey on either half to earn a share of second place.

Home club pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti was tied for fourth at one-over 73 with Ramesh Adhikari, Sanjay Lama and amateur Tanka Karki. Another amateur Prithivi Malla was a shot adrift at eighth, one stroke ahead of top pro Shivaram Shrestha (75). RNGC pro Ramesh Nagarkoti shared the 10th place with amateur Gajendra Gurung at four-over 76 as four amateur players sneaked into the top 10 after the first round. Nepal No 1 pro Shrestha failed to card a single birdie and shot three bogeys as he faltered to one-over 37 on the front nine before adding two-over 38 on latter half.

In all, 46 golfers — 31 pros and 15 amateurs  — are taking part in the seventh and final event sponsored by Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. Cut will be applied after the second round with top 21 pros and six amateurs making it to the final two rounds. The event carries a total purse of Rs 540,750 and the top three pros will receive Rs 100,000, Rs 63,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively. Others in the top 21 will also get their share of cash prizes.