Rai misses cut by one stroke; Karki falters, again

Singapore, October 5

Nepali golfer Sukra Bahadur Rai missed the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship cut by just one stroke after the second round here at the New Tanjong Course of Sentosa Golf Club today.

Rai, who had shot a five-over 75 on the first day, carded two over-72 today for the 36-hole total of seven-over 147. The cut was applied at six-over 146 with 64 players (top 60 plus ties) making it to the final two rounds.

Rai was tied for 65th along with four others at seven-over. Another Nepali golfer, Tanka Bahadur Karki faltered for the second straight round scoring eight-over 78 to add to his overnight score of 79. Out of the 119 players from 40 countries, Karki shared the 97th position with two other golfers.

Beginning the round from the 10th hole, Rai dropped a single shot on the first six holes before finishing the last three holes with birdie-bogey-birdie sequence to take the turn at even-par 35. He then played two-over 37 on the first nine holes, his back nine.

After saving a par on the first hole, Rai faced a bogey on the 11th before making pars on the next three holes. He earned a birdie on the 16th but dropped a shot on the next. But he bounced back with a birdie on the 18th to take the turn at even-par 35.

Sukra put himself in a strong position to make the cut when he carded a birdie on the second hole. He was even par for the round after a bogey on the fourth hole. He was still in contention to qualify for the final two rounds until he faced back-to-back bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes. He overshot the in and three-putted for a bogey on the Hole no 7, while he missed a par-putt from five feet on the eighth hole. He saved the par on the ninth, his final of the day, despite hitting a wayward tee and not-so-convincing chip shot.

Rai was unhappy to have missed the cut by one shot but said the putting let him down despite playing good rounds of golf. “I had a chance to create history but my putting was not up to the mark in both the rounds,” said Rai, who hit 13 greens in regulation. “Overall the performance was good and it was the putter that let me down in this tournament.”

Karki played three-over 39 on either half. He shot nine bogeys against a single birdie. Karki said he could not perform to his potential because of the poor iron-shots. “I don’t know the reason but I have not been able to hit shots with my irons. The putting and driver shots are okay but I fell short of greens on many occasions in this tournament,” he added.

Nepal Golf Association President Tashi Ghale was satisfied with the performance of Rai. “I was really impressed by Rai’s approach in such a big tournament and was cool and composed on both the days,” said Ghale. “But he had problems after reaching the greens. We also changed his putter but that also did not work,” he added. “It was disappointing that Rai missed the cut by just one shot.”

After the second round, China’s Jin Cheng and Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines shared the lead with the scores of eight-under 132. Both the golfers carded three-under 67. Korea’s Ha Jin-Bo (67) and China’s Bai Zheng Kai (67) were tied for third at seven-under 133.

Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana carded a 66 to move into a tie for fifth place at six under. Overnight leader David Micheluzzi of Australia shot one-over 71 to slip into a tie for seventh place at five-under along with Australia’s Min Woo Lee (69).

India’s Rayhan Thomas produced the best card of the day carding six-under 64 and bounced back into contention at two-under 138.

A total of 120 players from 40 countries are taking part in the 10th edition of the championship organised by Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the Masters and R&A. The winner of the Championship will earn tickets to the 2019 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club and a place in The 148th Open at the Royal Portrush. The runner-up will seal berth in The Open Qualifying Series.