Kathmandu, May 12
Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship is teeing off at the Gokarna Golf Club from Monday with a couple of pros fighting it out for the top position in the Order of Merit.
The ninth and final event under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2018-19 will most probably produce a new Nepal No 1 pro. In the absence of top pro Shivaram Shrestha, who is undergoing training in the United States of America, defending champion Bhuwan Nagarkoti and Sanjay Lama are expected to fight for the title and the No 1 status for the next one year.
Despite failing to win a single tournament in the season, Nagarkoti is just Rs 27,000 behind Shrestha after the eight events, while the Gokarna Golf Club pro is ahead of Lama by Rs 89,250. Army Club pro Dhana Thapa is at the fourth position in the Order of Merit and he trails Nagarkoti by Rs 148,500.
Shrestha, who won the first three tournaments and did not participate in the last three events, leads the table with Rs 460,500, while Nagarkoti is second with Rs 433,000. Lama, who claimed his fourth career title by winning the Surya Nepal Western Open, is third with 343,750, followed by Thapa (Rs 284,500).
The season-ending tournament carries a cash purse of Rs 1.26 million and top three pros will earn Rs 230,000, Rs 140,000 and Rs 95,000 respectively. The fourth-placed pro will get Rs 77,500, while the fifth pro will earn Rs 66,500. Nagarkoti will end the season as the No 1 pro even with a second place finish if Lama or Thapa win the Surya Nepal Premier. He can claim the top pro’s status with a third-place finish if Thapa wins the event.
A total of 40 pros and 20 amateur golfers will take part in the tournament which will be played over 72 holes. Cut will be applied after second round with top 24 pros and at least six amateurs making it to the final two rounds.
Three amateur golfers — Sukra Bahadur Karki, Tanka Bahadur Karki and Subash Tamang — have won one tournament each this season and they all are also strong contenders along with the pros for the title of the final tournament.
“This season ending event carries a biggest purse ever in the local tournament. I see a lot of enthusiasm on the players as they are practicing very hard to finish well in the competition,” said Rabindra Man Shrestha, President of Nepal PGA, thanking the main sponsor — Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd for providing the opportunity to the top golfers of the country. “We are grateful to our sponsors for their untiring commitment for the growth of golf in Nepal.”
A version of this article appears in print on May 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.