Shrestha retains No 1 status

Remains on top for seven years in a row

Kathmandu, June 14

Shiva Ram Shrestha reclaimed the Nepal No 1 status in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour Order of Merit.

Shrestha won record-equalling six titles in the season that included eight tournaments with a total prize money of Rs 4.77 million. Rame Magar and Rabi Khdaka bagged one each title.

Shrestha finished at the top of the Order of Merit with the earning of Rs 813,000. The 33-year-old Shrestha retained the status of a top pro for the seventh season in a row and eighth overall since the Tour began in 2008-09. The Tour is organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd.

Fellow RNGC pro Khadka was at the top in the second edition when Shrestha failed to win a single title. Shrestha bounced back strongly winning a record six titles in 2010-11 and has taken the tally to 34 in the Tour and 36th overall. Khadka is a distant second with 12 titles, while veteran Deepak Thapa Magar and Deepak Acharya are further one behind in the most wins list.

As usual the 2016-17 season revolved around Shrestha. He began the campaign with victory in the Surya Nepal Eastern Open in Dharan and bagged four successive titles by winning the Surya Nepal Challenge, Surya Nepal Western Open and Surya Nepal Central Open.

Shrestha was runner-up to Rame Magar in the Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open, while he lost to eventual winner Rabi Khadka in the semi-finals of the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play. Shrestha then won the Surya Nepal Tour Championship and the biggest tournament of the season, Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship to finish the season with record-equaling six titles.

Sanjay Lama climbed up to second in the Order of Merit though he did not win a single title. He earned a total amount of Rs 411,250. Lama finished second in four events — Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship, Surya Nepal Eastern Open, Surya Nepal Central Open and Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play — and third in three other tournaments. Bhuwan Nagarkoti was third in the Order of Merit with Rs 369,000. Nagarkoti, who was never outside top seven in the season — finished runner-up in Surya Nepal Challenge and Surya Nepal Western Open.

Rabi Khadka maintained his position in the Order of Merit. Khadka, who won the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play, finished fourth in the Order of Merit. The former top pro earned Rs 341,000.

Surya Sharma was fifth in the Order of Merit with the total earning of Rs 303,000. He squandered a three-strike lead in the last eight holes before finishing joint second with Lama in the season-ending Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship. Sharma also finished as runner-up in the Surya Nepal Tour Championship.

Rame Magar finished outside top five in the Order of Merit despite winning a title. He was seventh with the earning of Rs 257,000. Magar defeated No 1 pro Shrestha to claim the Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open for his fourth career title.