This article was published in the November issue of Sports Tribune Magazine
It was a case of so near, yet so far for Bangladesh golfer Siddikur Rahman at the Panasonic India Open in Delhi where he finished second, one agonising shot short of eventual champion, India’s Khalin Joshi.
The 33-year old golfer from Madaripur made a great start to the $400,000 tournament, carding a bogey-free 67, including five birdies, in round one to share third spot.
Things were looking bright for Delhi expert Siddikur in the second round as well, as he made the halfway cut convincingly, registering six-under-par 66 to join young Thai talent Suradit Yongcharoenchai at the summit.
A somewhat subdued third round performance saw Siddikur post a two-under-par 70, but the premier Bangladesh golfer was still in the running for the title, which would have been his third in the Asian Tour after the Brunei Open and India Open successes in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
People back home were waiting with bated breath for the fourth and final round as Siddikur eyed to end his five-year Asian Tour drought.
However, it was not to be as the Bangladeshi missed a 10-footer birdie putt on the last hole, while home boy Joshi carded a dramatic four birdies in his final five holes to snatch victory from Siddikur’s grasp.
After near misses in 2012 and 2015, Siddikur once again missed out on a well deserved title but it was not all doom and gloom for the Bangladeshi.
Placed 97th in the Asian Tour Order of Merit standing prior to the Panasonic Open, Siddikur needed a strong finish to elevate himself in the top-60.
Only the top 60 golfers in the Merit standing would keep their Asian Tour card for 2019, and the 33-year old produced exactly that.
At the end of the Panasonic India Open, Siddikur, who has played 20 tournaments this year in the Asian Tour and earned $75,177, jumped to 53rd place in the Merit standing.
Much of the same for the rest of the year and Siddikur would well and truly be inside the top-60, and keep his Asian Tour card for 2019.
Having leapt 44 places to 53rd, Siddikur put behind the agony of missing out on the Panasonic Indian Open and instead decided to concentrate on the bigger picture, which is keeping his Asian Tour card for 2019.
And if that happens, the countrymen back home can certainly hope for more glory and laurels from the 33-year old, Bangladesh’s first and only direct qualifier for the Olympics in any discipline.
What Siddikur said
"I played better [in round four] than I did [in round three]. Khalin played really well coming down the stretch but I thought I did well too. Overall, it wasn’t bad. I am very happy with my result and I am proud of myself that I am able to put up a good fight for the title. I just played my game and enjoyed the moment out there. I felt a little bit of pressure at the beginning but I didn’t let that get into me. I really enjoyed every single moment this week. It’s my best result after a long time. I have been trying to get the win to get my card for next year. It’s been on the back of my mind. Although I didn’t win, I put in a better position to finish inside top-60 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings now. A lot of positives to take from this week and I’m sure it will help me a lot."
POS Players To Par R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 Khalin Joshi (IND) -17 71 68 64 68 271
2 Siddikur Rahman (BD) -16 67 66 70 69 272
T3 Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) -14 67 67 70 70 274
T3 Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) -14 66 67 72 69 274
5 Aman Raj (IND) -13 70 68 68 69 275
• Siddikur was left to rue a missed opportunity on ending his five-year title drought. It was his third time finishing runner-up/joint runner-up in the event. He came in tied-second in 2012 and 2015.
• Siddikur holds an impeccable track record at the Delhi Golf Club. He won his second Asian Tour title in 2013, finished inside top-10 in four of his five attempts at the Panasonic Open India and has secured six top-10s in other Asian Tour events there.
• Siddikur entered the week in 97th place on the money list. His runner-up result would propel him to 53rd place on the latest Merit rankings, where he needs to stay inside top-60 at the end of the season to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019.
• Siddikur enjoyed his career-best season in 2013 when he came in fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He has not finished outside top-60 on the money list in his last eight consecutive seasons on Tour since 2010.
• The 33-year-old Siddikur wrote a slice of history in 2010 when he became the first player from Bangladesh to win on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open.
Did you know?
Siddikur Rahman is widely known as the Tigers Woods of Bengal