POKHARA, April 15: CB Bhandari carded one-under 72 at the Himalayan Golf Course, Pokhara on Sunday to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Shiva Ram Shrestha after the first day of the Surya Nepal Western Open, the second event of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2012-2013.
Shrestha played a round of even-par 73 on Sunday while Sanjay Lama was third at two-over 75.
Deepak Thapa Magar played three-over 76 to stay fourth. Umesh Nagarkoti and Ramesh Adhikari shared the fifth position with a score of 78. Pashupati Sharma and Surya Sharma were tied for seventh position at five-over 78.
Three players -- Ramesh Nagarkoti, Mani Rai and Rajan Thapa -- were tied for ninth at 79. Sachin Bhattarai (80), Rabi Khadka (81), Ram Krishna Shrestha (83), Deepak Acharya (83) and Gorkha Lama (83) were in the top 15.
In Amateur section, Wangchen Dhondup and Ram Baniya shared the lead at seven-over 80, while Shankar Baniya was third at 81.
In the main event, Bhandari carded two-under 35 on the front nine and added one-over 37 on the back nine to produce the only under-par card of the day. He carded birdies on the second and third holes to wrap the front nine. After taking the turn, Bhandari saved a shot on the 13th hole before facing two back-to-back bogeys.
Defending champion and Nepal No 1 pro Shiva Ram Shrestha suffered a bogey on the fifth hole but bounced back with an eagle on the par-5 sixth and added a birdie on the ninth hole to take the turn at two-under 35. On the back nine, Shiva Ram saved pars on the first nine holes before dropping shots on the last two holes.
Altogether 48 golfers -- 23 pros and 25 amateurs -- are taking part in the three-day tournament to be played over 54 holes. The cut will be applied after the second round, with the top 20 pros and nine amateurs making it to the final round.
The winner will receive Rs 88,000 while the runner-up will bag Rs 57,000.