Kathmandu: The lead group in the final round of the 19th edition of the Surya Nepal Masters consisted of a mix of youth, aggression and experience and started on an even keel, tied at 8-under each. There was a 20-year-old Abhijit Chadha, playing only his third professional event. There was 27-year-old Shiva Ram Shrestha, Nepal’s No.1 on whom the hosts’ had pinned their hopes of a victory in the mega event and finally there was 44-year-old former Indian Open winner Vijay Kumar who had lost count of the tournament he has played in his career thus far.
In a rare instance, youth prevailed when Abhijit Chadha lifted the Surya Nepal Masters 2012 title, beating a fighting Vijay Kumar to second spot and a nursing Shiva Ram Shrestha who tied with an improving Mukesh Kumar for the third spot. For the record, the Chandigarh pro shot a final round of 4-under 68 while Vijay signed an even par card of 72. Shiva Ram went 1-over 73 while Mukesh submitted a card of 71. Abhijit Raju Ali Mollah and Gaurav Pratap Singh were tied for the fifth place at 4-under 284, with Raju shooting a final round 68. Tashi Tsering walked away with the honours in the amateur section with a total of 8-over 286 and finished in the tied-25th position overall.
The young lad walked away with a pay cheque of NPR 646,600 while Vijay Kumar was richer by NPR 446,600. Mukesh and Shiva Ram had to be content with a cash prize of Rs 226600. The winners were felicitated by Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Nepal and Mr. Leela Mani Poudel, Secretary, Govt. of Nepal along with Sanjiv Keshava, MD, Surya Nepal Pvt. Ltd., Rabindra Man Shrestha, President NPGA and Uttam Singh Munday, Director PGTI. The Surya Nepal Masters is a Khel Paryatan venture of SNPL. On the occasion, the Chief Secretary released SNPL's corporate calendar whose theme was the visit Lumbini Year 2012 which was earlier announced by the Govt. of Nepal.
Ramesh Nagarkoti who played a level par 72 was the next best Nepalese professional tying for the 25th spot at 296 while Toran Shahi ended up tied-29th at 297.
Abhijit went about the task in the right earnest making a birdie on the very first hole. In between Vijay Kumar lost his way making a string of bogeys while coming back to form towards the late end of his first nine by which Shiva Ram, still at 8-under was lying second and Abhijit had created a chasm of four strokes, courtesy two more birdies on seventh and ninth. Vijay made a strong come-back firing four birdies in the next five holes to cut down the lead to three after 15.
With just three holes remaining, Vijay went for broke and incurred the penalty with back to back bogeys on 16th and 17th and the issue was almost closed as the lanky Abhijit was now five strokes ahead. The champion could afford to have a bogey when he missed a small return putt but he knew the trophy was his.
Meanwhile, in the fight for the bridesmaid position, Shiva Ram who was tied with Vijay, executed a poor third shot from the bunker on the finishing hole and ended with a bogey to give Vijay a clear second spot and had to be content with a joint-third position with Mukesh.
“I am very happy about my victory. I was playing well and when I saw the golf course, I thought I could do well here. I hoped for a good finish but did not expect to win the tournament,” said Abhijit. “I was never under pressure and thankfully I sank some crucial putts when it mattered,” he added.
Shiva Ram who looked a calmed self despite the error on the 18th, admitted his rival’s brilliant form. “I did try my level best but it was his day,” said Shiva. “I did not play badly I was hitting it well but once again my putter gave way,” said Shiva Ram.
TOP SCORES AFTER 72 HOLES
(READ AS TOTAL, NAME, ROUND-SCORES AND PRIZE MONEY)
276 ABHIJIT SINGH CHADHA (68, 71, 69, 68) NPR 646600
280 VIJAY KUMAR (69, 69, 70, 72) NPR 446600
281 MUKESH KUMAR (71, 70, 69, 71) NPR 226600
281 SHIVA RAM SHRESTHA (65, 76, 67, 73) NPR 226600
284 RAJU ALI MOLLAH (75, 70, 71, 68) NPR 152600
284 GAURAV PRATAP SINGH (76, 68, 67, 73) NPR 152600
285 VIKRANT CHOPRA (68, 72, 72, 73) NPR 122600
286 R MURTHY (69, 74, 70, 73) NPR 102600
287 SANJAY KUMAR (67, 73, 71, 76) NPR 92600
289 ABHINAV LOHAN (71, 74, 74, 70) NPR 79600
289 RANDHIR SINGH GHOTRA (71, 71, 70, 77) NPR 79600
290 SHANKAR DAS (66, 74, 76, 74) NPR 69600
290 VINOD KUMAR (71, 72, 73, 74) NPR 69600
OTHER NEPALI PROFESSIONALS
296 RAMESH NAGARKOTI (74,72,78,72) NPR 45800
297 TORAN BIKRAM SHAHI (72,73,74, 78) NPR 42800
302 RAJAN THAPA (76,72,75,79) NPR 28400
320 SACHIN BHATTARAI (80,70,87,83)NPR12000