Nepal No 1 Shrestha closes in on Central Open crown

Kathmandu, November 8

Top pro Shivaram Shrestha closed in on the Surya Nepal Central Open title here at the par-72 Gokarna Golf Club today.

Shrestha carded six-under 66 to post the total score of 21-under 195 after the third round of the second event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18. Shrestha, who shot a 66 in the first round before firing personal-best nine-under 63 on the second day, will go into the final round with a 15-stroke lead over fellow RNGC pro Surya Prasad Sharma.

Sharma faltered to two-over 74 for the total score of six-under 210, while Army Club pro Sanjay Lama moved up to third at two-over 214 after he carded a six-under 66.

Apart from winning the title, Shrestha can also better his own record of the best winning score. The best winning score in the Tour is 18-under, set by Shrestha at the same course when he captured the Surya Nepal Masters in 2012.

Nepal No 1 pro Shrestha carded four-under 32 on the front nine and added two-under 34 on the latter half. He began the day with a birdie and added another on the third hole before sinking an eagle on the par-4 ninth hole. Shrestha — the winner of the season-opening event, Ghana Shyam’s Professional Golden Jubilee Golf Championship at the RNGC last month — carded three straight birdies from the 12th hole before facing bogeys on the 15th and 16th and signed off the day with a birdie on the final hole.

Sharma failed to keep the tempo and took the turn at even-par 36 before playing two-over 38 on the back nine. He had a birdie on second and dropped a shot on the eighth. On the back nine, Sharma birdied the 12th hole but he went on to face a double bogey on the 14th and dropped a shot on the 17th hole.

Lama continued his move towards the leaderboard after he opened the campaign with a seven-over 79. Lama, who carded a three-under 69 on the second day, shot a six-under 66 to go four places up. Lama saved pars on all nine holes and shot six birdies on Hole No 11, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18.

Home club pro Bhuvan Nagarkoti carded one-under 71 to move up to fourth at even-par 216, while Jayaram Shrestha (74) was fifth at two-over 218. Rame Magar (70) and Deepak Magar (75) shared the sixth position at three-over 219, while Dhana Bahadur Thapa carded a 71 to be at the eighth position with the score of four-over 220. Pashupati Sharma (71) and Bhu Bahadur Gurung (73) shared the ninth position at six-over 222.

In amateur section, Phuntshok Norbu Lama and Sunil KC shared the lead at 14-over 230. The overnight joint leaders came up with the matching scores of five-over 77 in the third round. Subash Ghising (80) was a distant third at 23-over 239.

A total of 32 pros and 10 amateurs are taking part in the tournament organised by the Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. The event carries a cash purse of Rs 630,000 and the top three pros will be richer by Rs 115,000, Rs 74,000 and Rs 53,000 respectively. Other pros in the top 21 will also get their share of cash prizes.