Shrestha stars in opening round

Pokhara, January 27

Nepal No 1 professional golfer Shiva Ram Shrestha carded five-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the Surya Nepal Western Open at the Himalayan Golf Course today.

The RNGC golfer was two strokes ahead of Army Club pro Dhana Bahadur Thapa, who returned with the card of three-under 67.

Defending champion Bhuwan Nagarkoti of Gokarna Golf Club was further two strokes adrift at one-under 69 as three players were able to break the par at the difficult par-70 course.

Shrestha took the turn at three-under 32 with the help of birdies on the third, fifth and sixth holes.

On the two-under 32 back nine, Shrestha dropped a shot on the 12th hole for his lone bogey of the round before adding three more birdies on the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.

Second-placed Thapa carded even-par 35 on the front nine and carded three-under 32 on the back nine.

He faced two bogeys on the sixth and ninth holes against birdies on the fourth and eighth. Thapa played a bogey-free second half that included three birdies on the 11th, 15th and 17th holes.

Defending champion Nagarkoti recovered on the back nine with two-under 33 after taking the turn at one-over 36.

He carded birdies on the third, 10th, 14th and 15th against bogeys on the fifth, ninth and 13th holes

Army Club pro Sanjay Lama was fourth at one-over 71, while Sharma brothers of Pashupati and Surya Prasad shared the fifth position along with Jayaram Shrestha at three-over 73.

Rame Magar and Bhu Bahadur Gurung were tied on eighth at four-over 74, while Nepal No 2 Rabi Khadka and Ramesh Nagarkoti shared the 10th position at five-over 75.

In amateur section, Shiva Kumar Majhi of Dharan was at the top with the score of five-over 75. Majhi played four-over 39 on the front nine and shot one-over 36 on the back nine.

Mandip KC was second at 76, while Jiwan Rai and Sonam Bhujel shared the third position at 77. Sukra Bahadur Rai was fifth at 79.

A total of 41 players  24 pros and 17 amateurs  are taking part in the fourth event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2015-16.

The cut will be applied after the second round and top 21 pros and amateurs will make it to the final round of the 54-hole contest.

The event carries a cash purse of Rs 540,750 with top three pros receiving Rs 100,000, Rs 63,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively. Other pros in the top 21 will get their share of cash prizes.