Shrestha begins Central Open with three-stroke lead

Kathmandu, November 6

Top pro Shivaram Shrestha opened the Surya Nepal Central Open campaign with a six-under 66 here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Shrestha, the winner of the season-opener Ghana Shyam’s Professional Golden Jubilee Golf Championship held last month at the Royal Nepal Golf Club, took a three-stroke lead over fellow RNGC pro Surya Prasad Sharma, who carded a three-under 69.

On a day when only three golfers broke the par, veteran Deepak Thapa was further two shots behind at one-under 71. Yelamber Singh Adhikari and Rame Magar shared the fourth position at even-par 72.

Nepal No 1 pro Shrestha took the turn at five-under 31 and carded one-under 35 on the back nine. He carded birdies on the second, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and 10th holes to cap a bogey-free round.

Sharma made a disastrous start dropping shots on the first two holes but bounced back strongly to card even-par 36 on the front nine and played three-under 33 on the latter half. Sharma carded birdies on the fifth and sixth on the front nine and added three more on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes after taking the turn.

Veteran pro Magar had a mixed bag of two bogeys against three birdies. He started with a bogey and carded a birdie on the eighth before taking the turn at even-par 36. He then carded one-under 35 on the latter half that included birdies on the 12th and 17th along with a bogey on the 14th hole.

Former top pro Rabi Khadka was sixth after he shot one-over 73, while five pros — Deepak Acharya, Bhuvan Nagarkoti and Pashupati Sharma of Gokarna and Jayaram Shrestha and Shivaram Poudel of RNGC — shared the seventh position at two-over 74 along with amateur golfer Sunil KC. KC was three-stroke ahead of Phuntsok N Lama (77) in amateur section, while Bipin Tamang was third at six-over 78.

In all, 42 golfers — 32 pros and 10 amateurs — are taking part in the 72-hole competition organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. The even carries a cash purse of Rs 630,000 and top three pros will receive Rs 115,000, Rs 74,000 and Rs 53,000 respectively. The cut will be applied after the second round with top 21 pros and at least six amateurs making it to the final two rounds.