Top guns progress, Thapa ousted

Kathmandu, January 23

Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha led the way as top guns advanced to the quarter-finals of the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play here at the Royal Nepal Golf Club today.

Shrestha, who missed the Indian Tour Q-school cut in Ahmedabad last week, registered the biggest victory of the day after he outplayed fellow RNGC pro Ram Krishna Shrestha 7&6. Defending champion Rabi Khadka, who is ranked No 4, registered a 3&2 victory over 13th-ranked Pashupati Sharma of Gokarna Golf Club.

Second-ranked Sanjay Lama also progressed to the last eight but he was pushed to the final-hole finish by No 15 Pradeep Kumar Lama. No 3 Bhuwan Nagarkoti registered a 4&3 victory over Krishna Man Rajbahak, while No 5 Surya Prasad Sharma was able to beat No 12 Bikash Adhikari on the final hole.

Dhana Thapa was the lone casualty from the upper half of the draw as the sixth-ranked Army Club pro was ousted by No 11 Yelamber Singh Adhikari 3&2. Seventh-ranked Rame Magar beat his elder brother Deepak Thapa in the final hole, while eighth-ranked Jayaram Shrestha defeated No 9 Bal Bhadra Rai of Dharan 3&1 and will meet his younger brother Shivaram for a place in the semi-finals.

Likewise, No 2 Lama will take on No 7 Rame Magar, while Gokarna Golf Club pro Nagarkoti will face Adhikari. Defending champion Khadka will face fellow RNGC pro Sharma in quarter-final matches. The semi-finals are also slated for Wednesday. The third-place playoff match and the 36-hole final will be played on Thursday.

Top 16 pros in the Order of Merit of the previous edition of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour are eligible to take part in the tournament organised by Nepal PGA under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. Out of the total cash purse of Rs 250,000, the winner will receive Rs 70,000 and the runner-up will bag Rs 40,000. The third and fourth placed pros will earn Rs 28,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively, while the losing quarter-finalists will get Rs 11,000 each. Eight pros who lost in the first round will get Rs 6,000 each.