No 1 Shrestha surges atop
Kathmandu, May 22
Nepal No 1 pro and defending champion Shivaram Shrestha carded seven-under 65 and surged atop after the second day of the Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.
The Royal Nepal Golf Club pro posted the 36-hole total of seven-under 137 and opened up two-stroke lead over Sanjay Lama. Lama - who shared the first-round lead with Bhuwan Nagarkoti, Dinesh Prajapati and Bal Bhadra Rai - carded one-under 71 to add to his overnight score of four-under 68.
Shrestha, who was tied for ninth with an even-par card on Sunday, made a blistering start and carded five birdies in the first six holes as he took the turn at five-under 31. After carding birdies on the first two holes, Shrestha made it three in a row from the fourth. The winner of five out of eight events this season, Shrestha went eight-under for the day with birdies on the 10th, 11th and 15th holes. Bogey on the 16th prevented him from submitting the clean card.
Lama, who recently joined a club in the UAE, carded one-under 35 on the back nine after taking the turn at even-par 36. He carded birdies on the first and sixth holes but went on to drop shots on the eighth and ninth. Lama then faced a bogey on the 13th against birdies on the 11th and 14th holes.
Toran Bikram Shahi and Bhuwan Nagarkoti were tied for third at three-under 141 along with amateur golfer Tanka Bahadur Karki. Shahi, who has been playing in India since 1998, carded three-under 69, while Nagarkoti faltered to a 73.
Shahi, who has two titles under his belt with both coming at Gokarna, carded two-under 34 before taking the turn and shot one-under 35. Shahi was going good with three birdies on the third, sixth and seventh holes until he suffered a double bogey on the tricky eighth. He bounced back with a birdie on the ninth and added another on the 14th hole. After dropping a shot on the 17th, Shahi signed off the day with a birdie on the final hole.
The first-round co-leader Nagarkoti faltered on his home course shooting one-over 37 on the back nine after opening with an even-par 36. After saving a par on the first hole, Nagarkoti faced a double bogey on the next. He bounced back with birdies on the third, sixth and seventh before facing a bogey on the eighth. On the back nine, Nagarkoti faced bogeys on the 10th and 14th against a lone birdie on the 11th hole.
Dhana Bahadur Thapa (71) was fifth at one-under 143, while Chuda Bahadur Bhandari (72) and Bal Bhadra Rai (76) shared the sixth at even-par 144. Krishna Man Rajbahak (74) and Dinesh Prajapati (77) were tied for eighth at one-over 145, while Bhuwan Kumar Rokka (74) and Rabi Khadka (72) shared the 10th position at 146.
Cut was applied at 10-over 154 with 24 pros and nine amateurs making it to the final two rounds. Bikash Adhikari, Pashupati Sharma, Rame Magar, Purna Prasad Sharma, Pradeep Kumar Lama, Surya Prasad Sharma, Jayaram Shrestha, Ram Krishna Shrestha, Deepak Acharya, Deepak Magar, Bishnu Prasad Sharma, Kamal Tamang and Shiva Kumar Majhi made the cut.
Former India No 1 pro Feroz Ali Mollah missed the cut. After playing four-over 76 on the first day, Mollah shot seven-over 79 today to miss the cut by one stroke.
In amateur section, Tanka Bahadur Karki carded three-under 69 to post the three-under 141 total. He opened up four-shot lead over Prithvi Malla, who played one-over 73. Sunil KC (72) was third at 146, while Subash Tamang (75) and Sukra Bahadur Rai (69) shared the fourth position at four-over 148. Yubraj Bhujel, Sandip Tamang and Pramendra Singh also made the cut.
The 10th and final event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18 carries a cash purse of Rs 1.26 million. Top three pros will earn Rs 230,000, Rs 140,000 and Rs 95,000 respectively.