Rashid grabs first round lead at Surya Nepal Masters

Kathmandu: Young Indian golfer Rashid Khan
shot a stunning seven-under 65 to grab the opening day`s lead
in the Nepalese Rs 4 Million Surya Nepal Masters at the
picturesque Gokarna Forest Resort on Thursday.

It was a walk down memory lane for Rashid, who had
represented India in the International Amateur Championship of
the Surya Nepal Masters couple of years ago. After being
indisposed, Rashid put up an average show then.

But the 18th edition of the event saw Rashid, who is
playing his first season on the professional circuit, set the
course ablaze with six birdies and an eagle with a bogey at
17th holes being the lone blemish in his card.

"I loved the first time when I was here for the Surya
Nepal Masters in 2008. However, I was disappointed with my
show then and wanted to make amends as I really like the
course," said Rashid who was leading by a stroke from Mandeo
Singh Pathania who shot a blemish-free round of 66.

Sri Lankan Mithun Perera and Harendra Gupta of India were
two shots further behind to be tied third at 68.

Nepalese professionals Shiva Ram Shreshta and Toran
Bikram Shahi and former Indian Open winner Feroz Ali opened
with a score of three-under 69 to be tied for the fifth place.

Former winner of Surya Nepal Masters Shamim Khan was tied
for the eighth spot along with Nepalese amateur Samundri Giri
at 70.

The 20-year-old Rashid who had established his supremacy
as an amateur has grasped the professional ropes pretty
quickly climbing to the No.5 position on the PGTI Order of

A birdie on the opening hole set the tone for the day as
he saved three more strokes on the 3rd, 8th and 9th to take
the turn at four-under.

The pro from Delhi Golf Club showing some good golf
course management, eagled the par-5 11th after teeing off with
a 3-iron and using the same club for his second.

This was followed by a 15-footer for an eagle. The
frail-looking lad made consecutive birdies on the 15th and
16th before three-putting on the 17th for the only mistake of
the day.

"My hitting was extremely good today. I had learnt a lot
of lessons on my previous visit and my aim to keep the ball in
play. I am happy that I managed to do so," said Rashid who
missed a solitary green.