KATHMANDU, May 18: Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Premier Golf Championship is the final tournament of Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2017-18 that carries the highest cash prize of Rs 1.2 million. The event slated for May 20 to 24 at the Gokarna Golf Club carries significant importance to the golf players in terms ranking and cash prize.
The event is more important for golfers Shivaram Shrestha and Bhuwan Nagarkoti as the results of the tournament will decide the top pros in Order of Merit. Nepali professional golfers, who have been honing their skills abroad, like Toran Bikram Shahi will propel the tournament to a new level of competition. Shahi had won the Kailash Team Open in 2007, a year before the Surya Nepal Golf Tour began. He won the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship in 2014 for his second career title.
Shahi has been playing in the Indian professional events since 1998 and is a regular pro in the Professional Golf Tour of India ever since the PGTI which was launched in 2007. Shahi is currently affiliated to Classic Golf and Country Club in Delhi where he gives private lessons to professional golfers and his students.
The local pros have already faced each other in nine events this season. No 1 pro Shrestha of RNGC is the runaway leader in terms of number of titles. He has won five titles, while Gokarna Golf Club pro Bhuwan Nagarkoti has won three and Army Club pro Dhana Thapa bagged one title.
Shahi, however, is aware of the challenges Nagarkoti can pull.
“Bhuwan has been playing good these days and I think he is a good competitor to play against,” said Shahi, who has won two events in Nepal, both at Gokarna Golf Club. “Shiva Ram is always there and he is a prolific winner in Nepali golf,” he added.
Similarly, Thapa’s stint in the course this year has been like a roller-coaster ride. Out of nine events, Thapa has won one title and finished inside top 6 in other three events.
Thapa won his third career title at the Himalayan Golf Course in Pokhara. He defeated Shrestha in the Surya Nepal Western Open playoff.
Thapa started the season with a below-par performance in first two tournaments. But he made a strong comeback in the third event and finished as runner-up behind Nagarkoti in the Surya Nepal Challenge. He then had satisfactory performance in Eastern Open before losing in the first round of the Surya Nepal Match Play.
Thapa made it to top five in Pilot Golfer’s NPGA Classic and continued his rich form claiming the maiden title of the season in Western Open. He then failed to make it to top 5 of Kathmandu Open but had a good performance in the previous tournament.
Sharing the lead at times, Thapa stood fifth in the Surya Nepal NPGA Tour Championship.
Thapa is putting in all his efforts in practice ahead of the final tournament of the tour. “I have had good performance this season overall. I am looking forward to end it on a high note. There is a chance to make it to top three for next season and I will try my best to get there,” he said.
Thapa has improved his drive this season and feels that has affected in a positive way in his overall performance. “I changed my swing at the start of the season and that has come out well. The final event is going to be a tough one and I know I have to give my best. Top guns Shivaram Shrestha, Bhuwan Nagarkoti and Sanjay Lama will be tough opponents to beat,” he added.