Shrestha surges atop, Sharma three behind

Kathmandu, June 6

Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha carded a seven-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Shrestha, who was one-shot behind joint leader Dhana Thapa and Sanjay Lama on the first day, posted a 36-hole total score of 13-under 131. Fellow RNGC pro Surya Prasad Sharma, who also carded a 65, was three strokes off the pace at 10-under 134.

Shrestha, who carded a bogey-free 66 yesterday, took the turn at four-under 32 and added three-under 33 on the back nine. He made an excellent start with four straight birdies and added another on the eighth after he dropped a shot on the seventh hole.

Shrestha then went eight-under for the day when he had birdies on the 10th and 14th and an eagle on the 12th hole. But he went on to drop a shot on the par-5 15th hole after facing a two-stroke penalty for an OB (out of bounds). He hung on to save pars on the remaining four holes to finish the day on a high.

Sharma carded three-under 33 on the front nine with the help of four birdies on the first, fourth, seventh and ninth holes against a bogey on the third. After taking the turn, Sharma struck three straight birdies and added two more on the 15th and 16th after dropping a shot on the 14th hole to finish the back nine at an impressive four-under 32.

Overnight co-leader Lama, who managed to card a two-under 70 despite taking the turn at two-over 38, slipped to third at nine-under 135. He began the second round with a bogey and added two more on the sixth and eighth, while his lone birdie on the front nine came at seventh. Lama then carded three straight birdies from the 11th and had two more on the 15th and 16th after facing a bogey on the 14th hole to finish the back nine at four-under 32.

Another leader of the first round, Thapa carded two birdies on the third and fourth but faced as many bogeys on the seventh and eighth in his even-par front nine. On the back nine, the Army Club pro shot birdies on the 13th and 15th and dropped a shot on the 14th hole.

Home club pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti played an even-par 72 to remain in the sixth position at one-under 143, while Dharan’s Bal Bhadra Rai (73) and RNGC’s Jayaram Shrestha, who took the turn at four-under 32 before settling for a 71, shared the seventh spot at even-par 144. Rame Magar and Rajendra Thapa Magar were tied for ninth at one-over 145. The cut was applied at 11-over 155 with 24 pros making it to the money-making final two rounds.

In amateur section, Vijay Einhaus Shrestha was a distant second behind leader Sukra Bahadur Rai. Shrestha played five-over 77 to remain 10 strokes off the pace at five-over 149, while Tanka Bahadur faltered to eight-over 80 to remain one stroke further back at third. Bipin Tamang, Shiva Kumar Majhi and Tejendra Thapa Magar were the other amateur golfers who made the cut. Thapa Magar got the chance to play the final two rounds after Tashi Ghale withdrew from the last two rounds. Ghale had posted five-over 149 and was joint second.