Rupak off to China for Asian Amateur Open Championship

KATHMANDU: Nepal's No 1 amateur golfer Rupak Acharya today left for China to participate in the Asian Amateur Open Championship to be held at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzen from October 29 to November 1.

Nepal No 2 Wangchen Dhondup, who is currently in China, will be joining the top amateur in the tournament. This is the first time Nepali golfers are participating in such a prestigious event. Nepal Golf Association (NGA) decided to send the top two players following the invitation from Asia Pacific Golf Confederations (APGC). APGC will bear all the expenses for the event including accommodation, air fare and caddie fees for the players.

"This is a great opportunity for me and I will try my best to finish in top 10," said Acharya, who was forced to pull out of the Nakamura Cup in Japan in March. According to Acharya, the organisers denied him entry at the last moment due to Nepal's low ranking.

"I have been practicing regularly since I came back from Japan and finishing my rounds at under-par scores during practice. I hope to finish in top 10 in China," said confident Acharya. The tournament is one of the events of the APGC to determine the Asian nations' ranking as it will see top amateur golfers of Asia.

The winner of the event will earn an opportunity to play in the Augusta Masters in April next year. The NGA General Secretary Tashi Ghale -- who along with President Vinod SJB Rana will attend the APGC Development Committee meeting on the sidelines of the tournament -- said the event would help Nepali players gain much-needed exposure and experience for the 11th South Asian Games slated for January 29 to December 9 in Dhaka, next year.

"We can do well in the regional event if we get a good coach," said Ghale. "Apart from requesting the APGC to provide us a coach for the SA Games, we will also ask the Asian governing body to give us the equipment to upgrade the course and help us in Youth Development Programme," said Ghale.

He also said the NGA would present its bid to host the APGC Senior Amateur Open at the Gokarna Golf Club. "We had shown our interests of hosting the event during the APGC and R&A officials' visit to Kathmandu." said Ghale. After the APGC meeting, Ghale will join Acharya in the Hong Kong Amateur Open to be held at the Discovery Bay Golf Club from November 3-6. Ghale will replace Wangchen who pulled out of the event stating personal reasons.