Lama claims third major title in style

Kathmandu, October 1

Sanjay Lama defeated defending champion Shivaram Shrestha in the second extra hole to stage remarkable come-from-behind on the final day of the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Lama, who was four shots behind going into the final round, forced a playoff with a birdie on the final hole and saved the par on the same hole to claim his third career title. The match was decided in playoff after he was tied on 12-under 276 with Nepal No 1 pro Shrestha after 72 holes.

In a dramatic playoff, both the players missed birdie putts from close on the par-3 10th. In the decisive second extra hole, none of the pros could hit proper tee shot and they were within 10 feet of the cup after third shot. While Shivaram missed his par putt, Lama made it to complete the outstanding victory in the first event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2015-16.

“The luck was on my part today as I had two great escapes,” said Lama. “First I made a birdie from around 50 feet on the eighth hole which was the turning point of the day,” he said. “The bogey on the 14th hole was also a lucky one as the ball struck the tree at the right and landed at the edge of the green,” he added.

Lama fell one stroke behind after that bogey and the two players went neck-to-neck before Lama carded a birdie on the final hole to force the playoff. “I was looking for a second-place finish at the best, but as the round went on I came in contention and pushed hard,” said Lama, who won the Western Open in Pokhara in 2010 and Eastern Open in Dharan last year.

Lama, who was four strokes behind overnight leader Bhuwan Nagarkoti and two behind Shrestha, put himself in contention with a four-under 32 on the front nine, while the top pro carded two-under 34. Both the players shot two-under 34 on the back nine.

With one-over 37 on the front nine, Nagarkoti fell one behind the duo going into the last nine holes and the leader of the first three rounds played three-over 39 on the latter half for a four-over 76 finished third at six-under 282.

Lama made a flying start with a birdie and carded three more on the third, seventh and eighth on the front nine, while he added three birdies on the back nine — 11th, 12th and 18th — against a lone bogey on the 14th hole. Shrestha played a bogey-free round that included four birdies on the third, fifth, 11th and 12th holes. Top three pros earned Rs 100,000, Rs 63,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively.

Rame Magar, who played even-par 72, came fourth at two-under 286, while Surya Prasad Sharma (73) finished fifth at one-over 289. Ramesh Adhikary, Bal Bhadra (Mani) Rai, Deepak Magar, Pashupati Sharma and Bikash Bogati finished in top 10.

In amateur section, Prithivi Malla won the trophy with the total score of 21-over 309 despite playing a 10-over 82 in the final round. Five strokes adrift at second place was Maj Nischaya Jung Rayamajhi at 314 after he played four-over 76, while Tenzing Tsering (80) was third at 321.