The top pro set to go into the final round with a two-stroke cushion over Rai


Bhuwan Nagarkoti faltered to one-over 73 on the third day but he was able to keep the lead in the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Nagarkoti, who had played rounds of 64 and 69 on the first two days, failed to keep the momentum and posted the 54-hole total of nine-under 207. Sukra Bahadur Rai, who began the day five shots behind Nagarkoti, cut down the deficit to two strokes after the Dharan-based pro carded one-under 71 for the total score of seven-under 209. Rai was the lone player to break the par in the third round.

Nagarkoti, who began the day with five-stroke cushion, played even-par 36 before taking the turn and shot two-over 38 on the back nine.

He made a bright start with birdies on the first and third holes but he went on to drop shots on the sixth and ninth.

He then faced bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes and the reigning Nepal No 1 pro needed a brilliant approach shot from behind the trees to save a par after hitting a wayward tee shot on the final hole.

Rai, who had carded two straight 69s in the first two rounds, shot one-under 35 on the front nine before playing even-par 36 on the latter half. Rai carded birdies on the third and seventh holes and in between dropped a shot on the fifth. After taking the turn, Rai faced a double bogey on the 11th hole but he bounced back with two straight birdies on the 14th and 15th holes.

Amateur Subash Tamang will be playing in the leader's group along with Nagarkoti and Rai after the 13th South Asian Games double gold medallist carded even-par 72 to stay four strokes off the lead at five-under 211. Tamang carded a birdie on the seventh after dropping shots on the fourth and sixth holes. He began the back nine with a bogey after he missed a putt from less than five feet. Tamang saved a shot on the 12th before making a birdie putt from more than 20 feet on the final hole to bring smile back on his face.

Sanjay Lama was a distant fourth at 216 after he shot a 74. Amateur Vijay Shrestha Einhaus was fifth at 217 after he shot one-over 73, while veteran Rame Magar was one stroke further back after a round of 76. Amateur Ajit BK (73) shared the seventh position with pros Rajendra Shrestha Pradhan (75) and Rabi Khadka (73) at threeover 219, while amateur Tashi Tsering shot 75 to find his place in top 10 with the score of 221. Ramesh Adhikari had a disastrous round after he shot 18-over 90 for the 54- hole total of 24-over 240.

Adhikari, who had played the rounds of 75 each on the first two days, dropped six strokes alone on the par-5 seventh on his way to taking the turn at 11-over 47. He then played seven-over 43 on the latter half. The season-opening event of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour carries a cash purse of Rs 735,000 and top three pros after the fourth round will receive Rs 130,000, Rs 80,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.