Shrestha, Nagarkoti share lead

Kathmandu, September 28

Nepal No 1 Shivaram Shrestha earned a share of lead with Bhuwan (Umesh) Nagarkoti after the first round of the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Defending Champion Shrestha of RNGC and home club pro Nagarkoti carded four-under 68 each in the inaugural event of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2015-15. They are two strokes ahead of Jayaram Shrestha, who shot two-under 70. Unlike previous years, the season began with the Central Open after the devastating earthquake on April 25 and aftershocks forced the postponement of Surya Nepal Masters.

The top Nepali pro carded one-under 35 with the help of birdies on the first and ninth holes against a bogey on the seventh. He came back strongly on the back nine and carded birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th holes to earn a share of lead with Nagarkoti.

The home club pro Nagarkoti made a flying start with five-under 31 on the front nine before he faltered to one-over 37 on the back nine. Nagarkoti began the round with a birdie and added four more — three straight from the fifth and on the ninth — for the bogey-free front nine. After saving pars on the next six holes, Nagarkoti faced a double bogey five on the 16th before carding a birdie on the final hole.

Shivaram Shrestha’s elder brother, Jayaram was two strokes off the pace at two-under 70. He carded three-under 33 before taking the turn but he went on to play one-over 37 on the latter half. Shrestha began the round with a birdie and carded three straight from the third to go four-under. But he faced a bogey on the eighth to finish the front nine at three-under 33. On the back nine, Shrestha saved pars on eight holes and dropped a shot on the 14th hole.

Surya Prasad Sharma, Bal Bhadra (Mani) Rai and Ram Krishna Shrestha were tied for fourth at one-under 71, while three others Sanjay Lama, Dinesh Prajapati and Rame Magar shared the seventh po

sition at even-par 72. Bikash Bogati (74) and Shivaram Poudel (76) made their professional debut from the tournament after the duo earned cards from the Surya Nepal Qualifying School earlier this month.

Maj Nischaya Jung Rayamajhi, the third player who earned the card but has put it hold for now, led the amateur section after he played three-over 75. Rayamajhi was two strokes ahead of Prithivi Malla (77). Tenzing Tsering, who has qualified for next year’s Faldo Series Asia Final at Mission Hills, was a distant third at nine-over 81.

In all, 39 players — including 30 pros and nine amateur golfers — are taking part in the tournament organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd.

Out of the total prize money of Rs 540,750, the top three pros will earn Rs 100,000, Rs 63,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively. The cut will be applied after the second round with 21 and ties making it to the money-making final two rounds.