KATHMANDU: Anura Rohana sank an eagle from 30 yards on the last hole to register a dramatic win at the Surya Nepal Masters here at the Gokarna Golf Resort on Sarurday.
Starting with a shot behind the fellow countryman and amateur Mithun Perera, Rohana brought things level on the 15th hole and captured the prestigious trophy with a brilliant eagle on the par-four last hole that gave him two-stroke victory over Perera, who led the field for the first three days.
Rohana carded three-under 69 for a total of 12-under 276, while Perera brought in the even-par 72 card to finish second at 278. Australian Kunal Bhasin, who shot 69 today, came overall third and second among the pros at 281. Defending champion Shamim Khan was fourth at 282, ahead of fellow Indian pro Harinder Gupta (283). The 2007 Masters champion Deepak Thapa Magar carded one-under 71 for a total of three-under 285 to become the best among the 13 Nepali pros who made the cut. He finished tied fifth among pros and sixth overall.
Shiva Ram Shrestha, who played horrible golf on the second and third day, finished 11th among pros. Ram Thapa (12th) and Ramesh Nagarkoti (13th) were the other Nepali pros to have finished in top 15. The top three pros got Rs 405,000, Rs 280,000 and 157,500 respectively. Thapa Magar earned Rs 90,000, while Shiva Ram got 48,750. Ram Thapa pocketed Rs 43,000 and Nagarkoti received Rs 36,281. President Dr Ram Baran Yadav gave away prizes to the winners.
Perera opened up a four-shot lead when he carded a birdie on the par-four first hole and Rohana hit a double bogey. Rohana caught the leader by the end of the fifth hole carding two birdies after Perera hit bogeys on the second, fourth and fifth holes. The duo took the turn level at nine-under.
Perera went two strokes ahead after he carded birdies on the first two holes of the back nine. Rohana reduced the margin to one stroke with a birdie on the 12th. He caught the leader on the par-five 15th where he saved par despite hitting the water and missing the green after taking a penalty drop. Perera landed on the bunker and settled for a bogey.
The drama did not end there. The duo saved par on the 16th and 17th and it looked like the winner would be decided through playoff but Rohana had a different plan. After seeing Perera and Kunal Bhasin skidding off the pin, Rohana rolled the ball from 30 yards and it hit the flag before going into the cup, bringing a huge round of applause from the crowd.
"I just wanted to hit it closer to the pin so that I could make an easy birdie," said Rohana about the eagle-putt. "But the ball rolled and suddenly went into the hole," said the 35-year-old Sri Lankan, who was more than happy to win the first major title. Rohana had finished second last year.
"The day was full of excitements and I had a good match today," said Rohana, who has been the PGTI card holder for the last six years. "The 15th hole was the turning point as I managed a par while Perera could not.”
Perera, who has planned to turn pro only after winning the gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games, was also happy with the way he wrapped up the first tour outside his country.
"This is my first tour in the professional circuit outside the country and it's a good experience for me,” said Perera, the son of Sri Lankan legend Nandasena Perera.
“Anyways, I am happy that the trophy is going to Sri Lanka," said Perera, who won the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship earlier this year in China and has been invited to take part in the Australian Open in December this year.
Asked about the day's performance, Perera said he was not up to the mark on the final day. "As birdie was also not that easy, I was looking for a par and force playoff," said Perera of the last hole.
Deepak Thapa Magar started the day at three-under and was on course of top three finish as he was five-under after the 12th hole. He three-putted on the par-three 13th and dropped another shot on the par-five 15th hole to finish the day at one-under 71.
"I am happy with the top five finish but I am not convinced with the way other Nepali pros fared in the tournament," said Thapa Magar, who is the only Nepali pro to win the Masters. "If we look at the final results, the home pros' performance is not satisfactory," he added.
Apart from the amateur trophy, Perera also won the top honour in the International Amateur Tournament. Perera finished at 10-under 278, while Jamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh was second at 293 and Nepal No 1 amateur Rupak Acharya came third at 11-over 299.