Shiva Ram finishes second

Kathmandu, January 16:

Nepali sensation Shiva Ram Shrestha finished second at the Aircel-PGTI 2009 Final Qualifying Stage at the Golden Greens Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, India today.

Shiva Ram, who led the field for the first three rounds, carded one-over 73 on the final day for a total of one-under 287. Joseph J Chakola shot four-under 68 to win the tournament at one-under 286. Shiva Ram had a two-stroke advantage going into the final round but Chakola — who was fifth after the rhird day — produced the best card of the day to snatch the title away from Shiva Ram, who had carded 70, 72, 72 in previous three rounds.

Shiva Ram hit two bogeys against a lone birdie on the front nine for one-over 37, while he had a birdie and a bogey for even-par 36 on the return. Anthony Paul Chaot of Australia came third at three-over 291, while Amit Dube finished fourt at 292. Four Indians Arjun Singh Chaudhary, Rohit Chaudhary, Dayal Singh and Ramesh Kumar shared the fifth position with a total of 293.

The top 45 players out of the 81 who had made the cut from the pack of 123 golfers earned full cards for the 2009 season in the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). This is the second consecutive year Shiva Ram qualified for the PGTI, but this year he did it in style. Last year he was 49th in the qualifying. In August, Shiva Ram had a top 10 finish at the Tamil Nadu Open Golf Championship in Chennai. Back home, Shiva Ram currently leads the Surya Nepal Golf Tour with four titles under his belt.

Toran Bikram Shahi, another Nepali golfer playing in the Indian Tour, has already qualified for the 2009 PGTI season after he came fourth in the ONGC Masters 2008 in December last year.