KATHMANDU, May 12: Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship, the season-ending event of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2018-19, is beginning at the Gokarna Golf Club from Tuesday.
The winner of the tournament will be rewarded by Rs 230,000, while the runner-up will receive Rs 140,000 and third-placed professional (pro) will earn Rs 95,000.
A tournament is a wide-open event as number one pro Shiva Ram Shrestha, who is undergoing training in the United States, will be missing the event. Three amateur golfers- Sukra Bahadur Rai, Subash Tamang and Tanka Bahadur Karki- have already won one event each this season.
Of the total eight previous events, Shrestha bagged three titles, while Sanjay Lama and Dhana Thapa lifted one each.
Nagarkoti had won three titles last season including the Surya Nepal Premier but he is yet to taste victory in the current season. He finished first among the pros after losing the title to Tamang in the Surya Nepal Challenge, while Nagarkoti was joint-second in the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship and was the runner-up in the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play.
Nagarkoti says he is not satisfied with his performance in the current season. "I am struggling with iron shots and am not been able to focus in my game," said Nagarkoti. "As I have changed the club and the event is being held in the home course, I am hopeful of defending the title." Another strong contender Lama is known for consistent performance and is always among the favorites.
He has consistently finished in top five and was able to win the Surya Nepal Western Open. Like Nagarkoti, Lama also finished behind amateur Karki in the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship. And Lama is eying to finish at the top of the Order of Merit by winning the Surya Nepal Premier.
Rai has already bagged four titles in three events. Along with the Surya Nepal Eastern Open on his home course, Rai bagged amateur section title in Surya Nepal Western Open. He teamed up with Karki to win the team event gold medal in the Bangladesh Open and led the Province-1 team to gold medal in the eighth National Games. After winning the U-21 section title of the CMS Faldo Series Nepal Championship, Rai represented the country in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in Vietnam.
Rai believes the successes in national and international stages have boosted his morale for the Surya Nepal Premier.