Sajib, Jamal keep local hopes alive
Japan's Kazuki Higa stayed in the lead in the BTI Open, but Bangladeshi golfers made great headway halfway through the tri-sanctioned event yesterday.
After opening with a brilliant 62, Higa took the safe approach as he returned with a two-under-par (70) to lead on 12-under-par (132) at the 60,000-dollar event, jointly sanctioned by the ADT, PGTI and BPGA.
However, it was local heroes Jamal Hossain Mollah and Sajib Ali who kept the hopes of the hosts alive after returning with a 68 and 67 respectively to trail Higa by four shots at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden carded a 70 to sit in fourth place on a 137 total while ADT Order of Merit leader John Catlin (66) of the United States and Argentina's Miguel Carballo (71) were a further shot back in fifth place.
Bangladesh's two-time Asian Tour winner Siddikur Rahman was tied for seventh position at five-under-par (139). A total of 53 players including 12 Bangladeshis made the half-way cut, which was set at two-over-par (146).
Higa, who is playing in only his second tournament as a professional, was happy with the day's work of three birdies against one bogey as he only had 30 minutes to warm-up.
“Yesterday my iron shots were really good but today I struggled so I didn't have many birdie chances. I just did enough to lead the tournament. I don't want to think about the final two days yet. I'll continue to play like I did and see what happens,” Higa told said.
Sajib, who has been in good form this year following a lean patch the past two years, was looking forward to the next two rounds.
"My putting was good. The course is in brilliant shape and I enjoyed my game. If I can play like this, I can hope to be at the top at the end of the fourth day," said Sajib, who carded five birdies against no bogey yesterday.
Siddikur, who won the Dhaka Open on the ADT earlier this year, posted a 69 to trail Higa by seven shots.
"It was an okay round for me as I missed a few close putters. I'm not too optimistic about winning this event from this position because the lead is a bit too much, but you never know what happens in golf," said the 33-year-old.