Shrestha brothers claim top two spots

Kathmandu, October 12

Top pro Shivaram Shrestha and his elder brother Jayaram claimed the top two positions in the Ghana Shyam’s Professional Golden Jubilee Golf Championship here at the Royal Nepal Golf Club today.

The Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram played three-over 71 in the final round to post the 72-hole total of 12-under 260 in the first  event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18. He registered a seven-stroke victory over his brother Jayaram, who played a round of two-over 70 to finish second at five-under 267. This is the first time Shrestha brothers were one-two in the Tour as Jayaram had never been able to finish beyond third on 34 occasions when his sibling won the title.

Gokarna Golf Club pro Bhuvan Nagarkoti came third at four-under 268 after he faltered to three-over 71. Out of the total cash purse of Rs 500,000, the top three pros earned Rs 85,000, Rs 58,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively.

Shivaram had an eight-stroke advantage going into the final round after he shot five-under 63 each on the first three days. He failed to keep the momentum as “there was no competition and no one was pushing from behind.” He said he was relaxed and played it casually. “I was super relaxed in the final round,” said the top pro who claimed his 37th career title.

Shivaram shot three-over 37 on the front nine that included a birdie on the first hole and bogeys on the second and fourth. In between he also faced a double bogey. He then carded an even-par 34 on the latter half. He dropped a shot on the 12th and carded a birdie on the next.

Jayaram, who shared the lead with his brother in the first round, shot one-over 35 each on either half. He began the day with a bogey and added two more on the eighth and 12th holes against a lone birdie on the fourth.

Nagarkoti played an impressive seven-under 61 on the first day but he could not keep up the tempo and fired two-over 70 in the second round before carding two-under 66 on the penultimate day. There was no competition for the top spot but Nagarkoti lost the second position battle against Jayaram despite making a bright start with a birdie. Nagarkoti dropped shots on the second, eighth and 13th holes and also faced a double bogey on the sixth as he shot two-over 36 before taking the turn and added one-over 35 on latter half.

Army Club pro Sanjay Lama carded one-under 67 to move up to fourth at one-under 271, while Dinesh Prajapati finished fifth at 272 and Rame Magar (72) was sixth at 273. Surya Prasad Sharma (73), Deepak Magar (69), Rabi Khadka (72) and Dhana Bahadur Thapa also found their places in top 10.

Prithivi Malla was a surprise winner in amateur section as he overcame a 10-stroke deficit with overnight leader Mithun Rai before claiming the trophy on count back. Malla carded a two-over 70 in the final round, while Rai faltered to 12-over 80. Malla carded an impressive three-under 31 on the latter half after taking the turn at five-over 39, whereas Rai played 39 and 41 in two halves respectively. Top woman golfer Pratima Sherpa, who was two strokes off the pace and eight shots ahead of Malla going into the final round, played a forgettable round of 15-over 83 to slip down to third.

In all, 39 golfers — 32 pros and seven amateurs — took part in the event sponsored by first Nepali pro Ghana Shyam Thapa to mark his 50 years in professional golf. Nepal PGA President Rabindra Man Shrestha, Advisor Ghana Shyam Thapa and RNGC Secretary NK Rai gave away prizes to the winners.

A separate amateur tournament for social golfers is beginning at the same venue from Friday. Around 100 golfers from different clubs are expected to take part in the two-day event.