Kathmandu, April 15

The wait is almost over as one of the prestigious golf tournaments, the Surya Nepal Masters tees off here next week.

At a time of the economic meltdown, Surya Nepal has again reaffirmed its commitment to golf by increasing the prize money. This year the prize money will be 25 per cent more than last year at Rs 2.5 million.

In its 16th edition, the tournament continues to grow in stature and has come a long way from when it started. The tournament was the brainchild of Ray Noronah, former MD of Surya Nepal.

In the beginning the tournament took shape as an international amateur event but soon paved way for the Surya Nepal Masters. It gave the game a huge boost and the excitement was visible on the Nepalese players.

The first few Nepalese pros who looked to compete with the best were Deepak Thapa, Ghana Shyam Thapa, Ridhi Sapkota and Bhimsen Karki to name a few. They were the pioneers of the game in the country and have inspired and given hope to a host of players to follow in their footsteps.

Then it was for the youngsters to take on the mantle. One of Nepal’s leading pros Deepak Acharya turned a pro in 1993 during the first edition of Surya Nepal Masters. Since then, the event has been played by some of the biggest names in the region, who have gone on to excel on bigger tours. It was here in 2004 that Shiv Kapur registered his first win. Deepak Thapa created history in 2007 by becoming the first Nepalese pro to win the Surya Nepal Masters.