Unless there's an exciting new development, this is the last on Surya Golf for a while. Next week we will be back with something else. After months of build up, the Surya Nepal Masters concluded last Sunday with a week of excellent publicity and an astonishing tournament.
The event was special in many more ways than I have seen in all these years. Highlights included the unprecedented deluge of news coverage and write-ups in the media (including yours truly via this column), the new tournament partners, the great quality of contesting players, and the exciting conclusion.
Three players ended the regulation 72 holes on a tied score of 11 under par 277. Shiv Kapur from India, gold medalist in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, showed excellent golfing skills and tenacity throughout, and proceeded to beat Amritinder Singh and long hitter Gurbaz Mann in the sudden death play off.
I was fortunate to be paired with Shiv on the first two of the four days. On the second day he broke the course record by shooting an impeccable 8 under par 64. I was given an invaluable opportunity to see and learn a great deal on course management and aggression on the golf course. I must take my hat off to this player for his courage and determination, he probably tried every shot during the round and pulled them off with concentration and determination.
As for me, I was pleased to be hitting the ball as well as I ever have. After having a dream start on Day One, going four under after four
holes and hitting 16 greens in regulation, I was only able to finish one under one.
Let me interject here and reveal that on all four days, I was totally down in the dumps once I was on the putting green. As they say, the money for professionals is made or lost more on putting than through shot making. On Day Two, once again my putts just didn't find the cup. I had to be satisfied with just 2 under after hitting 17 greens in regulation.
On Day Three, I was 4 under after 12 holes and at one point I was just a stroke away from the leaders. I ended up returning a card of 72, bogeying 4 of the last 6 holes, three putting thrice! My attempt to win was foiled and a poor round of 75 on the final day pushed me lower down the standings.
Whatever the outcome was, I feel I have learned many things from the tournament and will strive to improve in my areas of weakness. What I did notice from the tournament was that the Indian players have really raised their playing standards. An example is the tour leader Ashok Kumar. After starting with a four over 76, he came back with 2 sub par rounds and finished with a sizzling course record matching 8 under on the final day to finish the tournament at 7 under, claiming joint fourth place.
My even par score of 288 for the four days gave me 13th place, which shows that scoring standards of Indian players on the Amby Valley PGAI tour have improved definitely hand in hand with the increases in prize money offered.
I am sure I echo the golfing fraternity's sentiments when I sincerely thank Surya Nepal for bringing all of this to us. Other corporate houses can now cash in on this excellent medium for publicity and goodwill. We look forward to renewed support for improving the game's standard in Nepal and plenty more pro golf events.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]