Lama takes two-stroke lead on Day-I
Pokhara, January 30
Sanjay Lama opened the Surya Nepal Western Open campaign with a two-stroke lead on the opening day here at the par-69 Himalayan Golf Course today.
Lama carded two-under 67 at one of the toughest courses of the region to stay at the top of the leaderboard and he was the lone player in the first round to return the under-par card.
Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha was two strokes off the lead at even-par 67, while his brother Jayaram shared the third position with
amateur golfer Sukra Bahadur Rai at one-over 70. No 2 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti was further one shot behind on fifth at two-over 71.
Lama carded one-under on either half. He saved pars on eight holes and carded a birdie in the eighth before taking the turn at one-under 34. On the back nine, Lama shot a birdie on the 11 and dropped a shot on the next. But he carded his third birdie of the round on the 15th to finish the back nine at one-under 33.
Top pro Shrestha, who faced defeat in playoff at the hands of Dhana Bahadur Thapa in the previous edition, carded an impressive two-under 33 but he faltered on the back nine shooting two-over 36. Shrestha carded birdies on the third and seventh holes on the front nine. After taking the turn, Shrestha faced a double bogey on the 10th and dropped a shot on the 12th hole before carding a birdie on the final hole
Jayaram Shrestha played even-par 35 on the front nine before shooting one-over 35 on the latter half. He started the day with a double bogey and dropped a shot on the next before firing three birdies on the fifth, sixth and ninth holes. On the back nine, Shrestha dropped a shot on the 10th and saved eight pars in a row.
Amateur Rai, who won the Surya Nepal Eastern Open for his maiden major title at his home course in Dharan in December last year, shot three-over 38 on the front nine before staging a fight back with a two-under 32 on the latter half.
Rai began the day with two straight bogeys and added two more on the sixth and ninth against a lone birdie on the third hole. He played a bogey-free back nine with birdies on the 10th and 15th holes.
Two pros Kamal Tamang and Rabi Khadka were tied for sixth with three amateurs Rahul BK Jiwan Rai and Ajit BK at three-over 72, while defending champion Dhana Bahadur Thapa shot four-over 73 to share the 11th position with Bhuan Kumar Rokka, Rame Magar, Krishna Man Rajbahak and Surya Prasad Sharma.
In all, 57 golfers — 33 pros and 24 amateurs — are taking part in the fifth event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2018-19. Cut will be applied after the second round with top 21 pros and six amateurs making it to the final round. The event carries a purse of Rs 661,000 and top three pros will receive Rs 120,000, Rs 77,000 and Rs 55,000 respectively. Others in top 21 will also get their share of cash prizes.