Kathmandu, February 14
Dhana Bahadur Thapa completed the hat-trick of Surya Nepal Western Open after he edged past former top pro Shivaram Shrestha by two strokes here at the Himalayan Golf Course today.
The Tribhuvan Army Officers Golf Club pro Thapa carded two-under 67 in the third and final round to post the 54-hole total of four-under 203 and claimed his fifth career title. Thapa had won the first Western Open title in 2015 and bagged second in 2018, the year he also won the Pilot Golfers NPGA Classic. His maiden career title came in 2011 when Thapa bagged the Surya Nepal Challenge.
Along with the title, Thapa received Rs 125,000. Shrestha finished second at two-under 205 after he produced the best card of the tournament scoring three-under 66. Sukra Bahadur Rai shot third straight 70 to claim the third position with the total score of three-over 210. Shrestha and Rai earned Rs 75,000 and Rs 55,000 respectively.
Thapa, who began the day with three-stroke advantage, carded two-under 32 on the front nine but saw the lead cut down to two after Shrestha carded three-under 31. Thapa extended the lead to four strokes with a birdie on the 10th after Shrestha dropped a shot and both the players matched their scores for the next seven holes. Shrestha came into contention, at least to force a playoff, after Thapa hit an OB in the final hole. But the most successful pro with 45 titles missed the birdie putt and Thapa two-putted for a double bogey to complete the victory.
“I felt pressure for the first time in three days when he (Shrestha) put it close to the flag as my ball was at the edge of the green. It was a huge relief to watch him missing the birdie putt,” said Thapa. “Otherwise it was three great three days at the course as I was able to execute my plans.”
Thapa said the birdie from around 25 yards on the third hole gave him the much-needed confidence on the final day. “And I kept it within one foot on the ninth hole for another birdie,” he added.
Jayaram Shrestha finished fourth at five-over 212 after he played three-over 72 and he earned Rs 45000. Defending champion Sanjay Lama shot twoover 71 to share the fifth position with Bhuwan Kumar Rokka (73) at 213 and they received Rs 35,500 each. Rabi Khadka (72) finished seventh at 216 earning Rs 31,000, while Nepal No 1 pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti and Ram Krishna Shrestha got Rs 28,000 each after they were tied for eighth position at 217. Binod Tamang finished 10th at 221 and he got Rs 25,000.
Niraj Tamang had a forgettable debut in professional circuit as he was disqualified for signing in wrong card. Jitendra Rai carded five-over 74 to claim the amateur section trophy with the total score of 18-over 225, while Suresh Tamang came second at 232 and Ajit BK was third at 234.
In all, 48 golfers —32 pros and 16 amateurs — took part in the 54-hole tournament organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. The event carried a purse of Rs 700,000 and top 24 pros received their share of cash prizes. Brand Manager of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Keshav Pradhan, Nepal PGA President Rabindra Man Shrestha and Member of National Sports Council Rajesh Gurung among others handed over the prizes to the winner.
The tournament will come to an end with the Pro-Am event on Saturday. A total of 78 golfers —16 pros and 46 amateurs — will participate in the event.
A version of this article appears in print on February 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.