Kathmandu, Nepal: Sukra Bahadur Rai will be the centre of attention when the sixth edition of the Faldo Series Nepal Championship tees-off next week.
Since his victory in last year’s event, the two-handicapper has cemented his position as one of his country’s most promising golfers.
Now, the 19-year-old who has emerged from the caddie ranks is seeking to add another trophy to his collection by retaining his title in the 11th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season.
“Golf is providing him with the opportunity to greatly improve his life, and he’s determined to grasp it,” said coach Kim Baldwin, who has been travelling to Nepal since 2013 under the R&A’s Working for Golf programme to assist with the development of the game in the South Asian sovereign state.
Under Baldwin’s guidance, Sukra’s game has shown considerable improvement over the past 18 months, during which time he has made his first trips outside of Nepal to participate in international tournaments.
As well as finishing runner-up in the 2017 Nepal Amateur Championship, Sukra had the distinction of being the leading amateur at the Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship. This year he also represented his country in the Asia Pacific Men’s Amateur Team Championship for the Nomura Cup in Malaysia.
Arguably his best performance came in October’s Singha Thailand Amateur Open where he held his own against many of the region’s most talented players at Panya Indra Golf Club, within sight of the lead at three-under-par through 54 holes. Despite signing off with a 78 to end in a share of 20th place, it was an encouraging effort from Sukra. “The experience he is gaining from playing overseas and lining up with so many outstanding players is invaluable,” said Baldwin.
Returning to Gokarna Forest Golf Resort next week, Sukra will have fond memories of his runaway victory last year when he posted a three-day aggregate of one-under-par 215 in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
A similar performance this year would most likely be good enough to secure him a starting spot in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2018.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “In developing golfing nations, one of the objectives of the Faldo Series Asia has always been to help grow the game and provide playing opportunities for talented young players.
“That’s why I was so thrilled to hear about Sukra’s success and how he has worked his way up through the caddie ranks. It’s a great example of what can be achieved with ambition and hard work.
“Credit also to the Nepal Golf Association for their continued efforts to make golf more popular.”
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
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