Bangladesh's Sajib Ali shared a four-way lead as the second edition of the City Bank American Express Chittagong Open got off to an exciting start at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club in Chittagong yesterday.
Sajib fired seven birdies on a flawless day for an opening round lead of seven-under-par (65), with India's Aman Raj and Harendra Gupta and Sri Lanka's N Thangaraja taking a share of the lead.
Mohammad Ismail, another Bangladeshi professional, was one shot off the lead in fifth place at the 50-lac-taka event.
Sajib enjoyed an exceptional day with the putter and also kept the errors out. The 29-year-old, looking to improve on his tied 38th finish last year, got his round going with a 12-feet birdie conversion on the fourth.
There was no stopping Sajib thereafter as he sank three more birdies on the front-nine including a 25-footer on the seventh. The Kurmitola Golf Club player went on to produce a near-perfect approach shot on the 10th that resulted in a tap-in birdie. He added two more birdies with long-range putts on the 11th and 16th to end up with a career-best 65 to the delight of the home fans.
“I'm delighted to shoot my lowest score ever. My putting was the best part of my game today. Importantly, I kept myself out of trouble by finding all fairways and 15 greens in regulation,” Sajib said after the day's play.
“It's a great start to the week and gives me a solid foundation to build on. The course is in great shape this week. Reading the greens is not going to be easy here, so that will be my focus over the next three days,” Sajib added.
Ismail, who earned his card on the PGTI through the Qualifying School this year, returned a 66 to be on the leaders' tail in fifth. He had a golden run of five consecutive birdies from the fourth to the eighth during his first round.
Jamal Hossain Mollah, the leading Bangladeshi golfer in the field, settled for an even-par-72 to be placed tied 21st.