Sukra Bahadur Rai opened up twostroke lead after the second and penultimate round of the Surya Nepal Western Open here at the par-69 Himalayan Golf Course today.

Rai carded three-under 66 to post the 36-hole total of four-under 134 and he will be two shots ahead of overnight joint leader Sanjay Lama, who carded second straight one-under 68. Top amateur golfer Subash Tamang earned another leader's group berth after he carded two-under 67 to move up to third at one-under 137.

Rai, who won the Dharan Open at his home course last month, carded two-under 32 before taking the turn and added one-under 34 on the back nine. Rai carded birdies on the second and third holes on the front nine, while he dropped a shot on the 12th before carding birdies on the 15th and 17th holes.

Lama, who shared the lead with Rai after the first round, played even-par 34 on the front nine after he faced a bogey on the first hole and carded a birdie on the fifth. Lama carded three birdies on the 10th, 13th and 15 holes but he dropped a shot on the 14th to finish the back nine at one-under 34.

The 13th South Asian Games double gold medallist, amateur Tamang carded two-under 32 on the front nine and played even-par 35 on the back nine.

He dropped a shot on the second hole against birdies on the first, fifth and sixth holes before taking the turn, while he bounced back with birdies on the 16th and 18th after dropping shots on the 12th and 13th holes.

Nepal No 1 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti, who made a bright start to the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2021 by winning the season-opening Central Open at Gokarna Golf Club, moved up to fourth after he shot second straight one-over 70 for the total of two-over 140.

Sanjeev Bahadur Nepali, Surya Prasad Sharma and Bal Bhadra Rai were tied for fifth at four-over 142. Nepali carded two-under 67, while Sharma shot 71 and Rai played 73. Binod Tamang was eighth at six-over 144 after he shot four-over 73, whereas five pros - Tanka Bahadur Karki (72), Dinesh Prajapati (73), Lt Col Basanta Raj Gurung (75), Niraj Tamang (75), Bhuwan Kumar Rokka (75) - shared the ninth position at nine-over 147.

Defending champion Dhana Bahadur Thapa (76) shared the 13th position with Jayaram Shrestha (72) and amateur Ritesh Tamang (76) at 10-over 148.

Others who survived the cut, which was applied at 14-over 152 for top 21 pros, included Deepak Acharya, Durba KC, Pradeep Kumar Lama, Rabi Khadka, Ram Krishna Shrestha, Deepak Magar, Sanjok Moktan, and Kamal Tamang. Likewise, Ajit BK, Suresh Tamang, Prajwal Gurung, Ramesh Gurung and Yubraj Bhujel made it to the final round in amateur section.

A total of 51 golfers - 37 pros and 14 amateurs - are taking part in the third event under Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2021. The event carries a cash purse of Rs 735,000 and the top three pros will receive Rs 130,000, Rs 84,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively. The tournament will conclude with Pro-Am event on Friday.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.