Golf: Bangladesh's Siddikur wins inaugural BTI Open; India's Sujjan tied 3rd

BTI Open Prize Presentation PictureDhaka: Bangladeshi golfing superstar Md Siddikur Rahman’s experience and persistence saw him through in the final round of the inaugural BTI Open as he lifted the trophy after a magnificent playoff victory over compatriot Md Sajib Ali at the Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) on Saturday.

Md Siddikur Rahman (66-70-66-71) and Md Sajib Ali (66-68-73-66) headed for the playoff after ending the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 15-under-273 at their home course. Siddikur finally prevailed with a birdie on the first playoff hole at the INR 35 lakh event.

Sujjan Singh finished third, the best among the Indians in the field, at 14-under-274. India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu was fourth at 12-under-276 after he carded the day’s best score of seven-under-65.

Siddikur, who began the final round as the joint leader along with Sujjan, had a rather sedate last round as compared to his superb 66 in round three. The 32-year-old Rahman, managed just two birdies against a bogey on the front-nine and briefly conceded the sole lead to Sujjan for a stretch of three holes.

However, Siddikur, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, kept it tight on the back-nine with a birdie and a bogey to take the match into a playoff.

Even as Sujjan dropped out of contention with a lone birdie and two bogeys on the back-nine, Md Sajib Ali, who was overnight tied fifth, lying five off the lead, emerged as the new challenger to Siddikur thanks to his seven birdies from the sixth to the 18th. Sajib’s inspiring 66 helped him join Siddikur in the playoff.

Siddikur brought all his experience to the fore to come out on top against rookie Sajib in the playoff and thus registered his fifth win on the PGTI. Siddikur walked away with the winner’s purse of INR 5,25,000.

Siddikur said, “I’m delighted to win in front of my home crowd. I wasn’t having a great day but I didn’t lose focus and played a steady round of golf. My years of experience at the highest level saw me through today. This is a good morale-booster for me for the forthcoming events on the Asian Tour.

“Sajib played some fantastic golf today. The emergence of players like Sajib augurs well for the future of golf in Bangladesh. The BTI Open has been a great initiative for the further growth of Bangladeshi golf. Tournaments such as the BTI Open help bring more local talent in the limelight. I look forward to the next edition of the BTI Open,” added an elated Siddikur.

Md Sajib Ali, who was one-over through four holes, made a brave charge with seven birdies on the last 13 holes before being edged out by Siddikur in the playoff.

Sajib, Bangladesh’s leading amateur in 2015, said, “It was a learning curve for me. I’m quite pleased with the way I fought back today. I’m still in my first season as a professional so this performance gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Sujjan Singh was in with a chance for most part of the day but his two bogeys on the last four holes put him out of the race. He shot a final round of 72 to claim third place. The Chandigarh golfer ended the week one stroke behind Siddikur and Sajib.

Ajeetesh Sandhu, another Chandigarh-based professional, secured fourth place at 12-under-276 after he posted the day’s best score of 65 which featured an eagle and five birdies.

India’s Deepinder Singh Kullar came in fifth at 10-under-278.

Udayan Mane of India, who was overnight third, finished tied eighth at eight-under-280.