Shrestha takes six-shot lead

Kathmandu, December 24

Former top pro Shivaram Shrestha carded nine birdies on his way to posting seven-under 65 and moved to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Shrestha posted the 36- hole total of six-under 138 to open up six-stroke lead over top pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti and Sukra Bahadur Rai in the season-opening event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2019-20. Nagarkoti played two-over 74, while newly-turned pro Rai carded second straight 72 as they shared the second position at even-par 144.

Shrestha, who finished second in the Order of Merit despite missing almost half of the tournaments in the previous season, carded three-under 33 on the front nine and shot four-under 32 in the latter half. He faced a lone bogey on the fifth hole against birdies on the third, fourth, seventh and ninth before taking the turn.

Shrestha, who gabbed three titles in the previous season, then carded four straight birdies from the 11th and added one more on the final hole. He faced a bogey on the par-5 15th hole.

Nagarkoti played twoover 38 on the front nine that included bogeys on the first, third and ninth holes against a birdie on the fourth. After taking the turn, Nagarkoti sank an eagle on the 11th and carded birdies on the 12th and 16th holes but faced four bogeys on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th holes to finish the back nine at even-par 36.

New pro Rai, the member of the 13th South Asian Games gold medal winning team, played one-over 37 on the front nine and carded one-under 35 on the back.

He began the day with a bogey and added another on the eighth against a lone bogey on the seventh hole. After taking the turn, Rai carded birdies on the first and last holes apart from dropping a shot on the 15th hole.

Four pros, Rame Magar (71), Rabi Khadka (73), Sanjay Lama (75) and Deepak Thapa Magar (75) shared the fourth position at one-over 145, while Tanka Bahadur Karki (75) and Ramesh Adhikari (70) were tied for eighth at two-over 146.

Bhuwan Kumar Rokka was 10th at three-over 147 after he shot two-over 74, followed by Dhana Bahadur Thapa (73) and Kumar Kami (77), who were tied at fourover 148.

The cut was applied at nine-over 153 with 23 pros and three amateurs making it to the final two rounds. Jayaram Shrestha, Dinesh Prajapati, Pradeep Kumar Lama, Sachin Prasad Bhattarai, Pashupati Sharma, Bal Bhadra Rai, Krishna Man Rajbahak, Ram Krishna Shrestha, Bipin Tamang, Shivaram Poudel and Sunil KC survived the cut.

In amateur section, the 13th SA Games double gold medallist Subash Tamang carded one-under 71 to his overnight score of five-over 77. Tamang posted four-over 148 to extend the lead to five strokes over Ritesh Tamang, who shot three-over 75 for the nine-over 153 total.

Suresh Tamang, who shot 10-over 82 to add to his overnight score of 81, was the third amateur to make it to the final two rounds despite falling out of the cut line.

A record 43 professional golfers and four amateurs took part in the event which carries a purse of Rs 700,000.

Top three pros will receive Rs 125,000, Rs 80,000 and Rs 58,000 respectively.