Survives scare from former Nepal No 1 Khadka before winning Surya Nepal Central Open


Sukra Bahadur Rai claimed the Surya Nepal Central Open for his second consecutive title of the season here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

On his way to winning the sixth major title, Rai survived a late scare from former Nepal No 1 pro Rabin Khadka before registering a one-stroke victory in the third event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2021-22.

Rai - who went into the final round with a six-stroke cushion over Khadka and Bhuwan Nagarkoti after the reigning Nepal No 1 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti received one-stroke penalty for wrong placement of the ball on the third day - played oneover 73 for the total score of 10-under 278.

Khadka charged with four-under 68 and finished second at 279, while reigning Nepal No 1 Bhuwan Nagarkoti came third at 282 after he settled for even-par 72. Along with his sixth career title, Rai received Rs 135,000, while Khadka and Nagarkoti earned Rs 88,000 and Rs 65,000 respectively.

Khadka carded three-under 33 to cut the deficit to half after the completion of the front nine and he was just one stroke behind Rai going into the final hole. But the former top pro could not make it a birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff and Rai saved par to complete the victory. Rai carded even-par 36 on the front nine before playing one-over 37 on the latter half.

Khadka narrowed the gap to two strokes with birdies on the first, third, sixth, seventh before dropping a shot on the next to hand three-shot lead to Rai, who saved pars on all nine holes of the front nine. Khadka reduced the deficit to two with a birdie on the 11th but Rai restored the three-shot lead despite a bogey on the 14th after Khadka faced a double bogey.

Khadka then cut the lead to one stroke with birdies on the 15th and 17th holes and he agonisingly came close to forcing the playoff before his long birdie putt slid past the cup. Rai two-putted from the edge of the bunker to save the par and complete the victory.

The 13th South Asian Games double gold medallist Subash Tamang settled for the amateur section title yet again after the played even-par 72 for the total score of four-under 284.

Tamang finished fourth overall, while Sadbhav Acharya - who played three-over 75 in the final round - was runner-up among amateurs at 293 and seventh overall.

Rame Magar finished fourth among pros at 289 after he shot a 73 and he earned Rs 53,500, while Niraj Tamang (73) came fourth at 292 to earn Rs 45,000.

Winner of the season-opener Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open, Jayaram Shrestha (71) finished sixth at 297 and he got Rs 40,000.

Bal Bhadra Rai and Sanjay Lama shared the seventh position at 303 and they earned Rs 34,500, while Surya Prasad Sharma was ninth at 306 and Dhana Bahadur Thapa came 10th at 307.

In all, 58 pros - 39 pros and 19 amateurs - took part in the tournament that offered a cash purse of Rs 775,000. Assistant Brand Manager of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Navin Saroj and PGA Nepal Advisor Ghana Shyam Thapa gave away prizes to the winners.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 15, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.