Promising start for locals
Unheralded Muaj Mohammad stole the show on the opening day of the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open with a six-under as the local golfers made a promising start in their home Asian Tour event at the Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) yesterday.
Muaj, the 21-year-old from Savar, brushed aside an early bogey to fire seven birdies and take the joint-second position, trailing first-round leader Maverick Antcliff of Australia by two strokes.
The opening day of the event, being held for the fifth consecutive time, was a promising one for the locals as five golfers ended the day within the top-15 positions.
Bangladesh's best golfer Siddikur Rahman ended the day with a flawless five-under to take a share of the third position alongside promising golfer Sajib Ali.
However, the day belonged to Australia's Antcliff, who was making his debut at the KGC after having only secured his Asian tour card last year.
The 25-year-old Australian returned with a bogey-free card highlighted by eight birdies to stay ahead of Muaj, Chinese Taipei's Wang Weilun, as well as Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond, Settee Prakongvech and Sadom Kaewkanjana.
"I am really happy with the way I played today. I have been working hard on my game after my first few events back home," said the Australian, who failed to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019 after finishing outside of top-60 in the order of merit last year.
Unlike Antcliff, Muaj started the day with a bogey on the third hole, but fired seven birdies thereafter to have the best day of his professional career.
"I just stayed in it and kept the good momentum going. Everything was good for me today. I managed to hit it close. All my birdies were from within six feet. I putted very well today as well," Muaj said.
Bangladesh's two-time Asian Tour winner Siddikur made a cautious start to the event. He has never won an Asian Tour event on home soil, but after returning with a bogey-free card, he was confident about his game.
"I felt really comfortable out there today. It was nice to come back with a bogey-free round with five birdies. I left a few birdies putts out there but overall, it was good," Siddikur said.
While he missed a few close putts on the front nine, the experienced golfer wrapped up the day with an excellent 15-feet birdie.
"I had a really tricky line on the 18th but I made it and it reminded me of my birdie on that hole to finish second place two years ago. It was nice to finish off with that birdie again," the 34-year-old said.
A total of 10 out of 47 local golfers finished the first round with under-par scores, raising hopes of better performances from the locals compared to the previous four editions.