Shivaraj springs surprise at Faldo Series Nepal Championship
Kathmandu (September 25): Shivaraj Majhi upstaged pre-tournament favourite Arun Tamang to emerge triumphant in the fourth edition of the Faldo Series Nepal Championship.
Maintaining his cool in testing conditions at the Gokarana Forest Resort, Majhi overturned a five-stroke opening round deficit to pull off a famous victory.
With rounds of 75, 72 and 76, Majhi posted a three-day aggregate of seven-over-par 223 in the event which was, for the first time, contested over 54 holes, ensuring it was recognised as part of the World Amateur Golf Ranking system.
Having topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-21 category, Majhi has earned himself a trip to Mission Hills China next March for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.
Accompanying him will be Boys Under-16 champion Tenzing Tsering and Pratima Sherpa, the runaway winner in the Girls’ Under-21 category.
The 10th leg of the record-breaking 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia season, the Nepal event showcased the brightest young golfing talent from the South Asian nation that is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India.
And to the surprise of even himself, it was Majhi who proved to be the dominant character, relegating defending champion and Nepal’s number one amateur Tamang to second spot.
A week before heading to Hong Kong to represent his country in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, 18-year-old Tamang had been hoping for a timely morale-booster by retaining his Faldo Series Nepal Championship title.
Tamang could hardly have wished for a better start, streaking to five-under through 15 holes of the opening round with eagles at two of the par-fives. Despite three successive bogeys to close, Tamang’s two-under 70 gave him a five-stroke cushion from Majhi with Prithvi Malla a further stroke back in third.
On day two, Tamang went into reverse with an 80 as Majhi soared to the top of the leaderboard thanks to an even-par return.
But both players struggled at the start of the final round. While Tamang and Majhi turned in 41s, Malla surged into contention with a blistering two-under 34 that saw him tie for top spot.
Majhi it was, however who rose to the challenge, draining birdie putts at 10 and 13, both par-threes, to once more gain a grip on the tournament. This time he would not let go.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “I’m delighted that the Faldo Series Nepal Championship was extended to 54 holes this year. It’s an encouraging sign of the progress that golf is making in the country.
“With players receiving World Amateur Golf Ranking points, it will help Nepal’s leading young amateurs to establish themselves on a wider stage.”
Madhukar Yakthumba, President of the Nepal Golf Association, and General Secretary Tashi Ghale handed out the prizes to the winners.
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.
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 winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at last year’s Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Faldo Series Nepal Championship, leading final scores:
223 – Shivaraj Majhi (75-72-76)
226 – Arun Tamang (70-80-76)
227 – Prithvi Malla (76-78-73)
229 – Sukra Bahadur Rai (80-73-76)
235 – Tejendra T. Magar (83-76-76); Sandesh Khanai (81-75-79)
241 – Tenzing Tsering (78-76-87)
244 – Aryaan Kumar (78-83-83)
253 – Suman Pariyar (87-80-86)
268 – Pratima Sherpa (93-86-89)
312 – Kashmira Shah (111-93-108)