KATHMANDU, June 14: Shiva Ram Shrestha finished the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2016-17 on a high winning six titles to finish atop the Order of Merit for the seventh year in a row.
The ninth season of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour featured eight events with a total cash price of Rs 4.77 million. A total of 41 professional golfers participated in the tour and Shiva Ram bagged sixth titles, while Rame Magar and Rabi Khdaka were able to clinch one title each.
Shiva Ram, the 33-year pro from Royal Nepal Golf Club, finished at the top of the Order of Merit with a total earning of Rs 813,000 in prize money.
In the inaugural golf tour of Surya Nepal in 2008-9, Shiva Ram had finished at the top of the Order of Merit winning five titles. He failed to win a single title the following season and fell behind Rabi Khadka in the Order of Merit. He then won record six titles in the 2010-11 season and has never looked back thereafter.
Shiva Ram began the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2016-17 by winning the Surya Nepal Eastern Open in Dharan and made it four in a row when he claimed Surya Nepal Challenge, Surya Nepal Western Open and Surya Nepal Central Open. Shiva Ram then finished second in the Surya Nepal Kathmandu Open behind Rame Magar and lost in the semi-final of the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play won by Rabi Khadka.
Shiva Ram then won the Surya Nepal Tour Championship and the biggest tournament of the season, Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship to finish the second with record-equaling six titles.
Sanjay Lama did not win a single title on the season 2016-17 but he climbed one position up to second in the Order of Merit after the final event, Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship. He earned a total amount of Rs 411,250 from eight events. Sanjay finished runner-up in Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship, Surya Nepal Eastern Open, Surya Nepal Central Open and Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play, while he was third in three other events.
Bhuwan Nagarkoti slipped to third position in the Order of Merit. He was a contender in all the events but failed to lift a title. He pocketed Rs 369,000 after he finished runner-up in two events of the season - Surya Nepal Challenge and Surya Nepal Western Open.
Rabi Khadka maintained his position in the Order of Merit. He won the Surya Nepal NPGA Match Play defeating Sanjay Lama in the final. He finished fourth in the Order of Merit with the total earning of Rs 341,000.
Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2016-17 was no different to that of previous seasons in terms of performances of the players but the competition among the pros sent almost all events to the wire. Still, the pros need to make a lot of hard work to put pressure on Shiva Ram, who has become an undisputed leader in the domestic circuit.