Siddikur Rahman wins inaugural Chittagong Open with six-shot margin

Md Siddikur RahmanChittagong: Bangladeshi golfing icon Md Siddikur Rahman lived up to the expectations of the home crowd that turned up to cheer him at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club (BGCC) in Chittagong as he registered an imposing six-shot victory at the inaugural City Bank American Express Chittagong Open on Saturday.

Siddikur shot a clinical two-under-70 in the final round to keep the trophy in the host nation of Bangladesh. He ended the Rs. 40 lakh event with a remarkable 16-under-272 total.

India’s Sanjeev Kumar finished runner-up at 10-under-278 after his impressive final round of four-under-68. It turned out to be the Lucknow golfer’s career-best finish.

Siddikur (69-66-67-70), the overnight leader by seven strokes, drove home the advantage on the final day with considerable ease as none of the other golfers posed any threat to his lead. As a result Siddikur bagged his sixth title on the PGTI. It was also his first win on the tour since his triumph in Dhaka exactly one year back.

The 32-year-old Rahman was three-under through 11 holes on Saturday after chipping-in for birdie on the fifth and also setting up tap-in birdies on the 10th and 11th with a couple of top-class chip shots. The two-time Asian Tour winner made another chip-in on the 16th, his second of the round and fifth of the week, to cruise home despite the bogeys on the 12th and 17th.

“My chipping was the best aspect of my game this week. I made five chip-ins through the tournament. I didn’t leave myself too many long putts, especially on the last day. I felt I kept up the intensity through the final round and was therefore in total control.

“I was really excited and pumped up due to the massive crowd that came out to cheer for me today. It feels really nice to win another tournament in my home country Bangladesh. This will give me loads of confidence for the rest of the Asian Tour season,” said Siddikur, who is a leading celebrity in his country.

He added, “I would like to thank all the sponsors, the BPGA, the PGTI and the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club, for making this event happen. More such events in Bangladesh will help raise the level of the sport in the country.”

Sanjeev Kumar (70-71-69-68) climbed from his overnight tied third to second place courtesy his 68 in round four. Sanjeev, who struck six birdies and two bogeys on Saturday, thus finished the event as the highest-placed Indian golfer.

The 25-year-old Sanjeev’s career-best finish and second top-10 of the season also propelled him from 12th to sixth position in the PGTI Order of Merit.

Sanjeev said, “I’m delighted with this result. I’ve been playing really well since last year and the results are gradually getting better for me.”

Delhi’s Shamim Khan (70) finished third at eight-under-280. He continues to lead the PGTI Order of Merit.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (even-par-288) and Md Jakiruzzaman Jakir (one-over-289) were the other two Bangladeshis in the top-10 as they finished ninth and tied 10th respectively.