Tsering beats Rai in playoff

Kathmandu, March 23

Tashi Tsering beat Sukra Rai in playoff and became the first Nepali golfer to win the Nepal Amateur Open Golf Tournament here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

Tsering made a birdie putt from seven yards to seal the victory on the first extra hole after Rai missed the birdie putt from the edge of the green. The seventh edition of the event went to playoff after Rai missed the birdie putt from eight yards on the final hole.

Tsering and Rai were tied at three-over 219 in the 54-hole competition. While Tsering carded one-under 71 in the final round, Rai played one-over 73. Wanchen Dhondup came third with the total score of four-over 220 after he played one-over 73.

Tsering, who was three strokes off the pace going into the final round, bounced back on the back nine with two-under 34 after taking the turn at one-over 37. He faced bogeys on the second and fifth holes against a birdie on the seventh to finish the front nine, while he dropped a shot on the 16th against birdies on the 10th, 11th and 18th holes in the latter half.

Tsering said he was excited to be the first Nepali golfer to win the trophy for the first time. “I am excited as well as positive as we could win both the individual and team events this time around. I think it is a good sign for Nepali golf,” said Tsering, who watched last group’s final hole from the club house after finishing his round. “Sukra (Bahadur Rai) hit a good second shot and I was warming up at the club house with a hope of playoff though it was a 50-50 chance,” he added.

Rai, who was one shot behind overnight leader Shiva Kumar Majhi, played one-over 37 on the front nine and carded even-par 36 on the back nine. Rai carded a total of four birdies on the third, seventh, 11th and 14th holes but went on to face five bogeys on the second, fourth, sixth, 13th and 17th holes.

Tanka Bahadur Karki produced the best card of the day — a three-under 69 — to finish fourth at seven-over 223, while overnight leader Majhi played a forgettable round of eight-over 80 to share the fifth position with Tsendra Dorji (76) of Bhutan and Md Shomrat Sikder (74) of Bangladesh at nine-over 225.

On Wednesday, Nepal ‘B’ of Sukra Bahadur Rai and Shiva Kumar Majhi won the team event with the score of 291. Team Bangladesh represented by Mohammad Shah Alam and Mohammad Shomrat Sikder finished second with the score of 302, while Nepal A of Tenzing Tsering and Tanka Bahadur Karki was third at 305. The title was second overall for Nepal and first in 13 years. CB Bhandari and Tashi Ghale had won the team title in 2004.

In the junior section, Tenzing Tsering — son of overall winner Tashi — won the title with the score of 228, while Subash Ghising came second at 249. Hridesh Kumar Singh (71), Sukra Bahadur Rai (72) and Tanka Bahadur Karki (69) were the golfers with the best card of first, second and third day respectively.

A nine-hole senior tournament was also held on the sidelines of the tournament and Rabendra Raj Pandey won the title with the score of 20 points. SSP Rajendra Shrestha was second with 18 points. A total of 48 golfers and five teams from Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan took part in the main event, while 23 players participated in the senior tournament. The tournament was organised by Nepal Golf Association under the auspices of Mountain Sports Federation Nepal.

NGA President Madhukar Yakthumba, Advisor Gen (Retd) Pyar Jung Thapa, Vice-president Prachanda Bahadur Shrestha, General Secretary Tashi Ghale, District Golf Association Presidents of Madan Rana (Kathmandu), Maj LP Gurung (Kaski) and Maj DB Rai (Sunsrari) handed over the prizes to the winners of the tournament.