KATHMANDU, Feb 15: Ramesh Nagarkoti kept his cool and threw Nepal´s No 1 Shiva Ram Shrestha a tough challenge to clinch the NPGA President´s Cup title with a two-stroke lead over the latter.
Playing in the leaders´ group at the Royal Nepal Golf Course, Nagarkoti carded even-par 67 on Wednesday for a total of two-under 199.
Shrestha, who already lifted six titles in the current season of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2011-12, including titles of the last four events, wasn´t at his best on Wednesday. He shot three-over 70 for a total score of even par- 201.
It is the sixth title victory for Nagarkoti as a professional golfer. Nagarkoti, who turned pro in 1995, had won the Western Open in 1999 and 2003, Carlsberg Open in 2003 and 2004 and the First NPGA President´s Cup in 2010.
Nagarkoti, who was one stroke behind on overnight score, caught up with a birdie on the second hole where Shrestha made a bogey but on the very next hole Shrestha pulled a birdie and Nagarkoti dropped a shot. On the fourth hole, Nagarkoti made a 10 foot putt for an eagle to catch up Shrestha again. At the turn, Nagarkoti shot one-under 32 and Shrestha shot even par 33 which made the score level after 45 holes.
On the 10th hole, Shrestha made a bogey to go one back but Nagarkoti made a mistake on the 11th hole to be even again. On the 12th hole, Nagarkoti chipped in for a birdie to go one shot ahead and on the next hole, Shrestha made further mistake to let Nagarkoti take two-shot lead.
On the 15th hole, Shrestha sank a birdie where Nagarkoti made a bogey to go even again. On the 16th hole, Shrestha made a bogey to let Nagarkoti go one ahead, and on the final hole, Shrestha made another bogey to allow Nagarkoti to have two strokes victory.
“We both made mistakes in the final round but he (Shrestha) made more mistakes,” said Nagarkoti. “Obviously, a title victory boosts confidence. I was waiting for a title since 2010 and I finally got it. The title will energize me and I´ll practice hard to win the last event of the current tour," he added.
With the victory in the 10th event of the current tour, Nagarkoti earned Rs 44,000 out of the total prize purse of Rs 200,000 while Shrestha received Rs 29,000.
"He (Nagarkoti) played a good round of golf today (Wednesday) but I made a number of mistakes," said Shrestha. "Some of my driver shots went into the hazard and on the 10th hole I missed a putt and shot out of the green. It was horrible," said Shrestha.
Money leader of the current season Shrestha vowed to make a comeback in the last event of the current tour, the Tour Championship to be held at Gokarna Golf Club.
Ram Thapa produced a one-over 68 card for a total of two-over 203 to climb up to the third place. Mani Rai and Yelember Singh Adhikari jointly finished fourth with the score of 204. Ramesh Adhikari and Deepak Neupane shared sixth position with the score of 208. Umesh Nagarkoti finished eighth with the score of 209. Toran Bikram Shahi and Dhana Thapa were tied at ninth place with the score of 210.
In Amateur section, Ashish Pariyar won the trophy with the score of 219. Jeevan Rai came second on the count back with the score of 221. Overnight leader from among amateurs Bikash Bogati played a disastrous round of 12-over 79 on Wednesday.
Nepal Professional Golfer´s Association (NPGA) President Rabindra Man Shrestha, who sponsored the event, RNGC Captain Tashi Ghale and Advisor of NPGA Ghanashyam Thapa gave away the awards to the winners.