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Golfing heaven



Gokarna is buzzing again, and this time the stakes of top-flight golf are set for a record high. From April 21-24, golfers from around the region will be playing to win the Surya Nepal Masters 2010. The event boasts a prize purse of three million rupees, with the winner taking home Rs 486,000.

No wonder then that the Standard Chartered Pro-Am, held on April 20 as a curtain-raiser for the main event, was a little more charged than usual. On the day, Bangladeshi professional Md Shahid Khan led his team to victory at the par-72 Gokarna Forest Golf Resort, while local Mani Rai returned the second best card of the day. But there will be plenty of others who will fancy their chances.

Not to be forgotten is Mithun Perera, who in the 2009 edition of the Surya Nepal Masters ran down a stellar field before being trumped by his compatriot Anura Rohana on the final hole. Sixteen-year-old Indian amateur Ashbeer Saini, too, will be hoping to shed the tag of inexperience that follows him wherever he competes. But international professional golfers from as far afield as Dubai and Malaysia will also be contending for Nepal's most prestigious golfing title. They will provide the perfect foil against which Nepali golfers can gauge their talent. Tashi Ghale and Rupak Acharya, among others, will be hoping to replicate Deepak Thapa Magar's 2007 win, the only time a Nepali won the Surya Nepal Masters.

The new benchmark for the prize money on offer is testament to Surya Nepal's continuously growing support for the growth of the sport in the country, sown long ago by former MD of Surya Nepal (and keen golfer) Ray Noronah. Khel Paryatan, an initiative by Surya Nepal, offers Nepali sports people a unique opportunity to test their skills against the best in the game. The Surya Nepal Golf Tour was launched four years ago with the sole objective of developing golf in Nepal. It has been a great success, not only with professionals, but also with its golf development and coaching program.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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