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Rai Retains Title at Faldo Series Nepal Championship

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15 December 2017

Kathmandu (December 15): Sukra Bahadur Rai will not be resting on his laurels after retaining his title in the sixth edition of the Faldo Series Nepal Championship.

Rai, a former caddie who has risen to emerge as one of his country’s finest golfers, posted a three-stroke victory in the 11th leg of the Faldo Series Asia season at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort.

Despite the pleasure of winning the tournament and securing a second successive trip to Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam for the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in March, 2018, Rai was far from satisfied with his performance.

Indeed, Rai’s overall aggregate of 11-over-par 227 was no fewer than 12 shots worse than his winning score over the same course in 2016.

“The winning score this year was not what I expected as I had one or two bad holes every day,” admitted Rai, who signed for rounds of 76, 75 and a closing 76, which was scarred by a triple-bogey eight on the par-five seventh hole.

Rather than bask in his success, the 19-year-old pledged to work harder on his game in the coming months with a view to improving on his joint 15th place finish in the Boys’ Under-18 Division at Laguna Lăng Cô this year.

“I look forward to a better performance at the Asia Grand Final," said national team member Rai, who received his trophy at Gokarna Forest from Jeevan Ram Shrestha, the President of Nepal’s Olympic Committee and a newly-elected Member of the Nepalese Parliament.

Also present at the prize-giving ceremony were Tashi Ghale, Nepal Golf Association (NGA) President, Pavitra Karki, NGA Vice President, Madhukar Yakthumba, former NGA President, Madan Rana, President of the Kathmandu District Golf Association, and NK Rai, Captain of the Royal Nepal Golf Club.

Accompanying Rai on his trip to Vietnam for The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking eventwill be Subash Ghising and Pratima Sherpa, both of whom have displayed considerable golfing improvement over the course of the past 12 months.

In an exciting finale, Ghising pipped India’s Mohnish Y. Shah by one stroke to top the standings in the Boys’ Under-16 Division. 

With all three rounds in the 70s, Ghising’s 232 total was no fewer than 23 shots better than in 2016 when his best score was an 84.

Similarly, Sherpa will take heart from the progress she has made under the watchful eye of coach Kim Baldwin, who has been travelling to Nepal since 2013 as part of the R&A’s Working for Golf programme to assist with the development of the game in the South Asian sovereign state.

Following a nervy opening 81, Sherpa responded with scores of 73 and 76 to claim a runaway victory in the Girls’ Division. Her 230 total was a 30-stroke improvement on her return from a year earlier.

Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It’s encouraging to see these young players working hard at their games. I look forward to spending time with them when we get to Vietnam in a few months from now.”

The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.

As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.

Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past champions include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.

Faldo Series Nepal Championship, leading final scores

Boys’ Under-21:

227 – Sukra Bahadur Rai (76-75-76)

237 – Bipin Tamang (79-79-79)

249 – Suresh Tamang (87-81-81)

Boys’ Under-16:

232 – Subash Ghising (79-77-76)

233 – Mohnish Y. Shah (77-83-73)

238 – Binod Tamang (79-85-74)

Girls’ Under-21:

230 – Pratima Sherpa (81-73-76)

267 – Kashmira Shah (90-86-91)