Shrestha takes one-shot lead over Thapa

Pokhara, February 12

Former top pro Shivaram Shrestha opened the Surya Nepal Western Open campaign with a round of one-under 69 here at the Himalayan Golf Course today.

Shrestha, the lone golfer to return the under-par card despite facing a triple bogey, was one stroke ahead of Dhana Bahadur Thapa, who carded even-par 69 to stay at the second position. Dharan trio Sukra Bahadur Rai, Bal Bhadra Rai and Niraj Tamang shot oneover 70 to share the third position.

Shrestha, who was dethroned from the summit for the first time in nine years after he finished second behind Bhuwan Nagarkoti in Order of Merit in the previous season, took the turn at one-under 34 before recovering to card even-par 35 on the back nine. He faced bogeys on the fourth and ninth holes against birdies on the third, fifth and sixth. In an eventful back nine,   Shrestha sank an eagle on the 10th and carded birdies on the 13th, 14th and 17th holes. But he was undone by a triple-bogey eight on the 15th and also faced bogeys on the 11th and 18th holes.

Army pro Thapa played even-par on both halves after he began and ended the day with double bogeys.

He also faced bogeys on the fourth and eighth holes against birdies on the third, fifth, sixth and seventh to take the turn at 34. On the back nine, Thapa carded birdies on the 10th and 17th holes before wasting two shots on the final hole.

Nepal No 1 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti shared the sixth position with Bhuwan Kumar Rokka after they shot two-over 71, while RNGC duo Rabi Khadka and Jayaram Shrestha were tied for eighth at 72.

Defending champion Sanjay Lama bounced back on the back nine carding one-under 34 after faltering to five-over 39 to post fourover 73. Pashupati Sharma pulled out of the event midway through the first round due to injury. In amateur section, Jitendra Rai played five-over 74 to stay at the top, while Suresh Lama was one shot behind and Jiwan Rai third at 77.

In all, 47 golfers — 31 pros and 16 amateurs — are participating in the 54-hole event that carries a cash purse of Rs 700,000. Cut will be applied after the second round with top 24 pros and six amateurs making it to the final round. Top three pros will receive Rs 125,000, Rs 75,000, and Rs 55000 respectively.

The tournament will conclude with a Pro-Am event on Saturday.