Top pro Shrestha opens up five-shot lead over Sharma

Kathmandu, June 7

Nepal No 1 pro Shivaram Shrestha opened up five-stroke lead over Surya Prasad Sharma after the third round of the Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

The RNGC pro Shrestha carded a five-under 67 to post an impressive 18-under 198 total after 54 holes of the season-ending event. Going into the final round on Thursday, Shrestha will have an advantage of five strokes over his clubmate Sharma, who carded a three-under 69 for 13-under 203.

Shrestha, the winner of five out of seven events of the season, took the turn at one-under 35 and shot a four-under 32 on the back nine. He began the day with a birdie and added two more on the fifth and sixth holes before facing a double bogey on the seventh, where he dropped a shot in the second round. After taking the turn, Shrestha sank an eagle on the 11th before earning shots on the last two holes.

Another RNGC pro Sharma maintained his second position but failed to narrow the gap. Sharma, who fired a seven-under 65 on the second day, played two-under 34 and one-under 35 on the two halves. He was on the way to a big score with a birdie on the first and an eagle on the seventh but he went on to drop two shots on the next hole. He took the turn with a birdie on the ninth hole. On the back nine, Sharma carded two straight birdies in the 12th and 13th holes before facing a bogey on the next.

Sanjay Lama, who shared the first-round lead before slipping to third on the second day, carded a 71 to maintain his position at 10-under 206, while Army Club pro Dhana Bahadur Thapa was further three strokes behind in fourth at 209 and Gokarna pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti was fifth at 214.

Lama played three-under 33 on the front nine that included two birdies and an eagle on the fifth against a bogey. He then faltered to two-over 38 on the back nine after he suffered two double bogeys on the 11th and final hole.

Rame Magar (74) and Tirtha Poudel (73) shared the sixth position at 219, while Jayaram Shrestha (76), Rajendra Thapa Magar (75) and Rabi Khadka (69) were tied for eighth at 220. Dharan pro Bal Bhadra Rai (77) was further one shot behind at 11th position.

In amateur section, Sukra Bahadur Rai maintained his place at the top of the leaderboard with the total score of even-par 216 after he faltered to five-over 77 on the third day.  Tanka Bahadur Karki climbed to second at six-over 222 after he carded a three-under 69, while Vijay Shrestha Einhaus (76) is third at 225.

A total of 48 players, 36 pros and 12 amateur golfers, took part in the eighth and final tournament of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2016-17 that carries a total cash purse of Rs 1.2 million. The winner of the biggest tournament of the season will receive 220,000, while second and third placed pros will earn Rs 134,000 and Rs 90,000 respectively.