Surya Nepal Western Open tees off, Rabi Khadka takes lead on Day-I

POKHARA, February 8: Rabai Khadka took the lead after first round of 17th Surya Nepal Western Open at the par-70 Himalayan Golf Course on Wednesday.

Rabi carded one-under 69 to stay at the top of the leaderboard of the third event of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2016-17. Nepal No 1 pro Shiva Ram Shrestha, defending champion Dhana Bahadur Thapa and Bhuwan Nagarkoti shared the second position at even-par 70.

Bhu Bahadur Gurung is fifth at three-over 73, while amateur Kamal Tamang, Deepak Magar and Bal Bhadra Rai are tied for sixth at four-over 74. Sanjay Lama is ninth at 75 and amateur Mithun Rai is 10th at six-over 76.

Leader Rabi played two-over 37 on the front nine and carded three-under 32 on the back nine. Rabi suffered a double bogey on the second hole and saved pars on eight holes to take the turn at 37. On the back nine, Rabi carded birdies on the 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes and faced a double bogey on the 13th hole.

Shivaram also played 37 on the front nine and carded two-under 33 on the back nine. He dropped shots on the first, third and sixth holes against a birdie on the ninth hole. On the back nine, Shivaram faced a bogey on the 12th and carded birdies on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes.

Likewise, Dhana Bahadur carded two-under 33 on the front nine with the help of birdies on the sixth and ninth holes. He added two-over 37 on the back nine that included bogeys on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17thholes apart from birdies on the 10th and 15th holes.  Bhuwan Nagarkoti played one-over 36 on the front nine and carded one-under 34 on the back nine.  He faced bogeys on the fifth and 18th holes against birdies on the 10th and 17th holes.

In amateur section, Kamal Tamang is at the top with the score of four-over 74. He played four-over 39 on the front nine and added even-par 35 on the back nine. Mithun Rai is second at 76, while Yubraj Bhujel is third at 78.

A total of 41 golfers, 28 pros and 13 amateurs, are taking part in the 54-hole tournament which is sponsored by Surya Nepal Pvt. Ltd and organized by Nepal Professional Golfers Association. Cut will be applied after second round with top 21 professionals and six amateurs will play final 18 holes. The prize purse for the event has been raised this year to Rs 600,000 and winner will receive a cheque of Rs. 110,000, Runner up Rs 70,000, second runner up Rs 45,000. Others in the top 21 will also receive their share of cash prizes.