Shrestha, Khadka earn share of lead

Dharan, December 26

Defending champion Shivaram Shrestha and former top pro Rabi Khadka shared the lead after the first round of the Surya Nepal Eastern Open here at the Nirvana Country Club Health and Golf Resort today.

The RNGC duo carded four-under 66 at the par-70 course at Ghopa Camp and they are four strokes ahead of Sanjay Lama and local amateur Sukra Bahadur Rai, who returned with even-par 70 cards. Four pros, Bhuwan Nagarkoti, Bikash Adhikari, Shiva Kumar Majhi and Tham Bahadur Rai shared the fifth position at one-over 71.

Co-leader Shrestha played even-par 36 on the front nine and carded four-under 30 on the latter half. He began the day with a bogey and added one more on the fourth against birdies on the sixth and ninth holes. After taking the turn, Shrestha carded birdies on the 10th, 12th, 15th and 17th holes on the bogey-free back nine.

Khadka carded two under 34 on the front nine and added two-under 32 after taking the turn. Khadka shot birdies on the second, fifth and ninth holes apart from facing a bogey on the seventh. On the back nine, Khadka carded birdies on the 12th, 16th and 18th holes and dropped a shot on the 17th.

Likewise, Lama carded even-par 34 on the back nine after taking the turn at even-par 36. He carded a total of six birdies but could not just stop four bogeys and a double bogey. Lama began the day with a bogey and added two more on the fourth and eighth against birdies on the second, seventh and ninth holes. On the back nine, Lama faced a double bogey on the par-5 12th hole and dropped a shot on the 14th. He earned shots on 10th, 15th and 18th holes.

National team member, amateur Rai carded one-under 35 and one-over 35 on two halves. He made a disastrous start at his home club with a double bogey six but recovered with birdies on the second and third holes. But he faced a bogey on the next and carded birdies on the fifth and ninth holes. On the back nine, Rai dropped shots on the 14th, 17th and 18th against birdies on the 10th and 12th holes.

Local pro Bal Bhadra Rai shared the eighth position with amateur Babindra Rai at two-over 72, while pro Rame Magar was tied for 10th with three amateurs Sukra Raj Rai, Jiwan Rai and Yubraj Bhujel at three-over 73.

A total of 34 pros, including four from Dharan, are taking part in the third event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2018-19 along with 22 amateur golfers. Cut will be applied after second round with top 21 pros and at least six amateurs making it to the final 18 holes.

The tournament carries a total cash purse of Rs 661,500. The winner will be richer by Rs 120,000, while the runner-up will earn Rs 77,000 and the second runner-up take home Rs 55,000. Others in top 21 will also get their share of cash prizes.