Siddikur Rahman ambled to a four-stroke victory in the inaugural City Bank American Express Dhaka Open -- his third international title on home soil in three years – at the Kurmitola Golf Club yesterday.
The two-time Asian Tour winner faced very little challenge from the field which featured golfers from the BPGA, PGTI and ADT – as he romped to a 14-under-par (274) total after a two-under in the final round yesterday.
Having started the day at 10-under, 33-year-old Siddikur exchanged four birdies for two bogeys to scoop the winners' paycheque in this tri-sanctioned event with a total prizemoney of 60,000 dollars.
Siddikur had won the Chittagong Open, the last PGTI event held in Bangladesh last year, after having skipped the BTI Open, another PGTI event, in Dhaka two months earlier. He had won the previous edition of the BTI Open in 2016. Siddikur had also won the only other ADT event held in Bangladesh seven years ago.
The ace golfer from Kurmitola felt that his experience of playing around the world and knowing this golf course like the back of his hand attributed to this comfortable victory. “Home advantage and experience – I would say these two things counted. Since I play a lot of tournaments abroad, I have more experience. And the Indians don't play here that much. So the home advantage definitely counted as well,” Siddikur told reporters after receiving the winner's paycheque of 10,500 dollars.
The win will be a huge confidence boost for Siddikur, who never lost the lead after the second round. He did not drop a single bogey on the first nine the entire week and was hardly challenged on the final day.
“Honestly I was very comfortable on the back nine. I made two birdies on the first nine and that helped a lot. Overall it has been a great week and I'm feeling healthy which is very important,” said Siddikur.
While Siddikur was happy with winning his first international title since April, 2017, he admitted he will miss playing in an Asian Tour event at home. The Bangladesh Open was held annually for the last three years, but this time there will be no Asian Tour event in Bangladesh. Siddikur's best effort in that particular event was a second-place finish in the last edition.
“I really miss that event,” Siddikur said. “If I won that tournament today, I would have gone in the winner's category and got full exemption. I would have earned World Ranking points as well.”
Although Siddikur did not need to put in much of an effort on the final day, it was Sweden's Malcolm Kokocinski who excelled with a 67 to grab the second position at 10-under-par (278), with India's Shankar Das settling for the third a stroke behind.
Overall the performance of the local golfers was inspiring as some 30 golfer from among 59 made the cut, with Akbar Hossain grabbing fourth position. The youngster, who is tipped to be a future star for the country, ended with an aggregate of seven-under-par (281).
Jamal Hossain Mollah is the other Bangladeshi to finish inside the top ten with an aggregate of four-under-par (284).