Subhash Tamang (Indian Golf Union Photo)
21-year-old Subhash Tamang of Nepal created history by becoming the first-ever golfer from Nepal to win the 122nd edition of the All India Amateur Championship played out at Royal Calcutta Golf Club in Kolkata, the capital city for the state of West Bengal.
Tamang defeated Rohit in a gripping final match that lasted 29 holes, where he was declared winner with the final score of 9 & 7.
Tamang stood fourth entering the match-play section of the tournament and made his way to and advanced to the final by overcoming several formidable opponents. In his first match, he met Kanav Chauhan, where they were tied on the 18th hole, and the match was extended to the 19th hole, where Tamang emerged a winner.
Later, Tamang beat Vishesh Sharma in the pre-quarters and Dhruv Suri both with matching margins of 4 & 3. He was paired against Altin Van der Merwe, the number 1 seed in the tournament in the semi-finals, whom he defeated 3 & 1 to advance to the finals to meet Rohit.
Subhash won the first hole of his 36-hole final match against Rohit. But Rohit recovered on the second, and they both matched each other shot by shot to stand all square after seven holes. Rohit, who won the eighth and halved the ninth. So, after nine holes, it was Rohit who held a slender lead at 1-up.
The match remained evenly contested until the 15th hole, at which point Tamang secured victories on three of the next four holes—15th, 16th, and 18th—to establish a commanding 3-Up lead at the halfway stage of the match.
As the match seemed to increasingly favor Tamang, Rohit managed to narrow the margin to two on the 20th hole. However, Tamang quickly regained momentum, extending his lead to 4 Up by the 22nd hole.
Tamang proceeded to clinch victory by winning three consecutive holes from the 24th through 26th. By the time he completed the 26th hole, he held an impressive 7-up lead with nine holes remaining. Further asserting his dominance, Tamang extended the margin to 8-up on the 28th hole. The outcome was essentially decided as a formality on the 29th hole, which they halved, ultimately resulting in Tamang's triumph by an impressive margin of 9 & 7.
Tamang stands as the sole Nepali player to have achieved a world ranking below 1000. His most recent performance at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Australia resulted in a 68th-place finish. In 2023, Tamang participated in 11 ranked events, securing victories at the Surya Nepal Tour Championship and Surya Nepal Premier Golf Championship, both prestigious professional tournaments in Nepal.
Additionally, he won the TSG Master Monthly Series 1 and achieved seven other top-10 finishes.
Tamang's win has earned him starts at the prestigious Asia Pacific Amateur Championships scheduled for Oct. 3-6, 2024, in Gotemba, Japan.
Tamang is gearing up to participate in the 2024 PGTI Q-School, the professional tour in India scheduled for January-February. His win has already ensured him a direct exemption to the Final Stage. Additionally, he aspires to join forces with Sukra Bahadur Rai, his compatriot who has successfully navigated the Indian tour for several years.
The tournament, featuring a diverse field of players including foreigners from countries like South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, adding international flavours to the competition.
The All-India Amateur Championship is India’s oldest golf tournament having started in 1892.
Tamang comes from a modest background in Nepal, where his parents earned a living by crafting mud bricks. Due to financial challenges, he had to discontinue his education after the third standard. Instead, he joined his parents in brick-making to contribute to their monthly income and help sustain their family.
Later, Tamang connected with his cousin, a ball boy at the Royal Nepal Golf Club in Kathmandu, and fell in love with what he saw in the first instance and soon developed a passion for the sport. Unaware that he would eventually become a player, his initial goal was simply to secure his livelihood by working as a ball boy alongside his cousin at the golf course.
Tamang watched golfers hit balls for nearly one year. And every day, when the range would close, he would be given one club, mostly a worn-out wedge, to use in collecting the balls. That was how he started to swing the golf club.
Tashi Ghale, a businessman in Kathmandu and President of the Nepal Golf Association, saw Tamang shadow-swinging one day and the rest is history. Ghale with Deepak Acharya, the Director of Operations and a teaching professional at Gokarna Golf Club helped Tamang extensively.
Connection with India
Watching Tamang’s progress, Ghale and Acharya had plans to help him. Last year, realising that he needed more exposure, better facilities and all-round coaching, they approached Tarun Sardesai, a coach in Bengaluru, India, who operates TSG, a residential golf academy.
Sardesai was so impressed with Tamang’s swing and attitude towards golf and immediately offered him a 100% scholarship and since then it has been an upward trend for the Nepali boy who added wings to his dreams.
Sardesai was later also appointed as the Nepal National coach for the Asian Games in Hangzhou in China and has been associated with the team for close to a year now.