Local amateur Tamang takes Eastern Open lead on Day-I

Dharan, January 21

Niraj Tamang opened the Surya Nepal Eastern Open campaign on a high after the local amateur carded six-under 64 here at the Nirvana Country Club Health and Golf Resort today.

The amateur golfer from Dharan, Tamang took a three-stroke lead over defending champion Sukra Bahadur Rai, who carded three-under 67. On a day dominated by local golfers, Bal Bhadra Rai carded one-under 69 to stay at the third position.

Tamang, the member of the national team that won gold medal in the 13th South Asian Games in December last year, took the turn after a bogey-free five-under 31 before playing one-under 33 on the back nine. Tamang set the course on fire with birdies on the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh holes before taking the turn.

He took the scores of seven-under after carding birdies on the 12th and 14th holes before facing the first bogey of the day on the 15th hole. Tamang earned a shot on the 16th with the eighth birdie of the round before ending the day with the second bogey.

Defending champion Rai played one-under 35 on the front nine despite carding four birdies and he shot two-under 32 on the latter half. Rai began the day with a bogey but bounced back with a birdie on the next. He dropped a shot on the fourth before carding two straight birdies on the fifth and sixth holes. Rai then faced his third bogey on the seventh hole and he took the turn with a birdie on the ninth.

On the back nine, Rai carded three birdies on the 10th, 12th and 18th hole and in between faced a bogey on the 16th. Rai said he was satisfied with the round. “Apart from a couple of holes, I fared as expected,” said Rai, who turned pro from this season after helping Nepal win the team event gold medal in the 13th SA Games.

“I missed putts on two holes but I am satisfied with the overall performance. I think I am well placed and on a right track to defend the title,” said Rai, who had won the Surya Nepal Eastern Open as an amateur golfer.

Another local pro Bal Bhadra Rai carded one-under 35 on the front nine and played even-par 34 on the latter half. He suffered bogeys on second and sixth holes against a birdie on the ninth before taking the turn.

On the back nine, he carded a birdie on the 12th and dropped a shot on next hole.

Former top pro Shivaram Shrestha, who faced a twostroke penalty after his cell phone rang on the sixth hole, finished the day at oneover 71 to share the fourth position with Dinesh Prajapati and Ramesh Adhikari.

Three pros, Shiva Kumar Majhi, Sanjay Lama and Deepak Magar shared the seventh position at two-over 72, while five pros — Binod Tamang, Bipin Tamang, Krishna Man Rajbahak, Sunil KC and Dhana Bahadur Thapa — were tied for 10th at three-over 73.

In amateur section, Sundar Rai was a distant second with the score of three-over 73, while Binod Kumar Shah was third at 74.

In all, 50 golfers — 34 pros and 16 amateurs — are taking part in the 54-hole tournament in the second event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2019-20. Cut will be applied after the second round with top 24 pros and six amateurs making it to the final round. Out of the cash purse of Rs 700,000, top three pros will receive Rs 125,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 55,000 respectively.