Beats Nagarkoti, two others by seven strokes; bags first major trophy as a professional golfer


Local pro Sukra Bahadur Rai won the Dharan Open Golf Tournament here at the par-70 Dharan Golf Club today.

He registered a seven-stroke victory over reigning Nepal No 1 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti, Bal Bhadra Rai and Krishna Man Rajbahak to claim his first trophy since turning pro after winning gold medal with the national team in the 13th South Asian Games held on home soil in December 2019.

Photo: Santosh Kafle/THT
Photo: Santosh Kafle/THT

Rai, who began the day one stroke behind overnight leader Nagarkoti, carded three-under 67 at his home club for the 54- hole total of four-under 206.

He had won two major titles as an amateur golfer - Surya Nepal Eastern Open in December 2018 and Surya Nepal Premier in May 2019. He is also the first amateur golfer to win two major titles in a single season. Along with the running trophy, Rai earned Rs 90,000.

Nagarkoti faltered to seven-over 77, while the last year's Surya Nepal Eastern Open winner Bal Bhadra Rai climbed three spots up to joint second after a round of oneover 71. Likewise, Rajbahak produced the best card of the round at three-under 67 to jump nine places up to earn a share of second place at three-under 213. They received Rs 43,666 each.

Rai took the lead on the first hole after Nagarkoti faced a double bogey and they were even on the sixth after the top pro carded a birdie on the sixth. Nagarkoti handed the advantage to Rai after he dropped a shot on the eighth and the Nepal No 1 pro could not bounce back on the latter half. Rai carded one-under 35 on the front nine and played even-par 34 on the latter half, while Nagarkoti shot 37 and 40 on two halves respectively.

Rai was over the moon to get his first trophy in the sixth event after turning pro. "I am extremely happy to win the first trophy as a pro and that too in my home town," said Rai, who was cheered by his father Laxman Rai in the final round. "I played even-par in the first round and got the confidence after carding a 67 on the second day," he added.

"I hit the ball well and the putting also backed my game today," said Rai, who had bagged his first career trophy on the same course.

Niraj Tamang, who was also the member of the SA Games gold medal winning team, began the day one stroke off the pace like eventual winner Rai but he too played a forgettable round of 77 to share the fifth position with Rame Magar (72) at 214. Tamang and Magar earned Rs 28,500 each.

Deepak Acharya shot oneover 71 to finish fifth at fiveover 215 and got Rs 25,000, while Sanjay Lama (75) and Rabi Khadka (71) were tied for eighth at six-over 216 and they earned Rs 22,000 apiece.

Dinesh Prajapati was 10th at seven-over 217 after he played a round of 72 and he got Rs 19,000.

Yubraj Bhujel won the amateur section title with the score of nine-over 219 after he faltered to six-over 76 in the final round, while Ritesh Tamang (76) was second at 224 and Raj Kumar Rai (76) came third at 227.

A total of 43 golfers - 24 pros and 11 amateurs - took part in the second event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2021. The tournament, which carried a cash purse of Rs 500,000, was sponsored by Dharan Sub-metropolitan City, while RC Cola, Himalayan Reserve and Magic Footwear were the other supporters.

Deputy Mayor of Dharam Sub- Metropolitan City Manju Bhandari Subedi, Dharan Golf Club President Tika Limbu and Vice-president Santosh Karki gave away prizes to the winners.

The tournament will conclude with the Pro-Am event on Friday. A total of 52 golfers - 13 pros and 39 amateurs - will take part in the event.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.