Nagarkoti wins Surya Nepal Premier
Kathmandu, May 24
Shivaram Shrestha squandered a four-stroke lead and surrendered to Bhuwan Nagarkoti on the second extra hole in the final round of the Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship at the Gokarna Golf Club today.
Shrestha was four shots ahead with 10 holes remaining and melted down on his own before Nagarkoti hit back in the back nine to force the playoff. Shrestha got the lifeline after Nagarkoti failed to make the birdie putt from five feet on the final hole as both the pros ended at 12-under 276 after carding one-under 71 each in the final round.
Shrestha earned a second chance after Nagarkoti missed the birdie putt from 10 feet on the par-3 10th hole. But the Nepal No 1 pro hit a wayward tee shot that saw the ball into the jungle to the right of 10th tee box. Somehow Shrestha managed to find the edge of the green with his approach shot but again failed to make the birdie. On the other hand, Nagarkoti did no mistake this time around and held his nerve before rolling the ball down the green into the cup for the winning birdie putt.
Nagarkoti fell behind on the first hole after the home club pro three-putted for a bogey before Shrestha extended the lead to three shots with birdies on the third and seventh holes. Nagarkoti faced a bogey on the eighth and Shrestha opened up the four-stroke lead with a par. Nagarkoti cut the deficit on the ninth and according to him the birdie before taking the turn was the turning point of the match.
“I was already four strokes behind but the birdie putt on the ninth hole gave me the confidence and I could get back into the game,” said Nagarkoti. “I was able to get a birdie on the 12th and that further put pressure on his opponent,” added Nagarkoti, who managed to cut the deficit to just one shot after Shrestha faced a bogey on the 14th hole. “I had a great chance on 15th as Shivaram had already overshot the green with his third shot. But I too could not control the shot and had to settle for a par,” he added. Shrestha two-putted for a bogey on the par-5 hole.
Both the pros went neck-to-neck on the next two holes before Nagarkoti put himself in strong position with a brilliant approach shot on the final hole. But he failed to grab that opportunity and had to play two extra holes to capture the third consecutive title, fourth of the season and sixth overall.
Along with the trophy, Nagarkoti received Rs 230,000 and he was just Rs 43,700 behind Shrestha in the Order of Merit. Nagarkoti earned a total of Rs 760,550, while Shrestha retained the top status with the earning of Rs 804,250, thanks to the second-place pay cheque of Rs 140,000.
Nagarkoti was little unhappy of not getting to the top. “My ultimate target is to become the No 1 pro of the country and I will continue pushing hard until I get there,” said Nagarkoti.
Shrestha blamed his putter for the loss. “The putter deceived me today, otherwise I played well,” said Shrestha, who described the final tee shot as a horrible one. “May be because of the sweat, I lost control over the driver.”
PGTI regular Toran Bikram Shahi (73) finished third at four-under 284 earning a cheque of Rs 95,000, while Army Club pro Dhana Bahadur Thapa (72) came fourth at 285 and he got Rs 77,500. Sanjay Lama, who joined a club in the UAE as a teaching pro a couple of months ago, was fifth at 287 after he played a round of 73 that earned him Rs 69,000, whereas first-round co-leader Bal Bhadra Rai (72) of Dharan earned Rs 63,000 after he finished sixth at 290.
JayaramShrestha and Dinesh Prajapati shared the seventh position at 291, while Krishna Man Rajbahak finished ninth at 292. Purna Prasad Sharma and Rabi Khadka shared the 10th position at 293.
In amateur section, Sunil KC edged No 1 golfer Tanka Bahadur Karki in count back to win his first career title. KC played a round of three-over 75, while Karki faltered to 76 as they were tied at four-over 292. Prithvi Malla (73) finished third
In all, 56 players — 42 pros and 14 amateurs — participated in the 10th and final event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18. The field also included Feroz Ali Mollah but the former India No 1 pro missed the cut by a stroke. Managing Director of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Abhimanyu Poddar, President of Nepal Golf Association Tashi Ghale and Founder President of Nepal PGA Ghana Shyam Thapa gave away the prizes to the winners of the event that carried a total purse of Rs 1.26 million.