Dhaka: Homegrown hero Siddikur Rahman will be targeting for a first Asian Tour win on home soil when he steps up to the tee at the second edition of the US$300,000 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open starting Wednesday.
The two-time Asian Tour winner believes he has an edge with the strong support from the local fans which will be a motivation for him to play well on his home course at the Kurmitola Golf Club from February 10-13.
“It’s always an advantage playing at home and in front of your home crowd. It’s a motivation for me to do well. This is the second time that we have an Asian Tour event here and I hope to give the local fans something to cheer about this week. I played some good golf this morning in the pro-am tournament. The game’s feeling good and I am very excited,” said Siddikur.
Siddikur, chasing for a third Asian Tour victory, knows he has to put the pressure off himself should he wish to better his results from last year where he finished tied-38th.
“It’s a pity I didn’t get a good result last year. I think I gave myself too much pressure. I was too focused on winning the tournament. I will try to stay relax this time. I just want to enjoy my game. The weather’s perfect this week and the course is in good conditions. It’s going to be a good challenge and I am looking forward to it,” added the 31-year-old Bangladeshi.
Siddikur will contend against a strong field which include reigning 2015 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion Casey O’Toole of the United States and Yikeun Chang of Korea, who both enjoyed top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour in Myanmar last week.
“The game’s feeling good. I secured my first top-five finish on the Asian Tour last week in Myanmar and obviously riding on that good form coming here. This is my sixth week in a row playing tournaments. I am getting a little tired but I feel very excited to be back here,” said O’Toole.
O’Toole, who hails from Alabama, has enjoyed a superb season on the Asian Development Tour in 2015 where he was crowned the Order of Merit winner following one victory and nine- top-10s.
“This was where I played my first Asian Tour event. It’s great to be back. I really like this golf course. It seems to be in a better shape this year. I was surprised when I took the first round lead last year. Although I didn’t finish off well, it was still a great experience for me. Hopefully I can cap another good result this week,” added the 25-year-old O’Toole.
Chang, who topped the class at the Asian Tour Qualifying School last month, also hopes to carry on his good form from last week.
“I am putting well. Finishing top-10 last week gave me a lot of confidence coming here. I have been putting well for the last couple of weeks. If I can drive the ball well this week, I think I should have a good chance of contending.
“The people are really nice here. This golf course is a little different from the golf courses that I played last two weeks. It’s a lot shorter but it’s challenging because it’s tight off the tee. The driver will be the key to play well here,” said the 22-year-old Korean.
Other notable players to feature in the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open include Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant and young compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai, as well as India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, who is chasing for his breakthrough victory on the Asian Tour.
With the Olympic Games looming in July where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open will be a good opportunity for players in the region to earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro with the Official World Golf Ranking points on offer.