Home hero Siddikur Rahman flew his country’s flag high by signing for a superb six-under-par 66, grabbing the halfway lead by five shots at the inaugural City Bank American Express Dhaka Open Thursday, reports Asian Tour.
The 33-year-old Siddikur, who started the round with a one-shot deficit, fired seven birdies against a bogey on his home course at Kurmitola Golf Club to move atop the leaderboard with a two-day 10-under-par 134 total.
Indian duo Shankar Das and Rahul Bajaj carded matching 68s to share second place while overnight leader Shakhawat Sohel (70) of Bangladesh, his countryman Akbar Hossain (70) and Malcolm Kokocinski (70) of Sweden stayed six shots off the pace in fourth on 140.
India’s Shamim Khan, Kapil Kumar and local prospect Zamal Hossain Mollah were tied in seventh place on 141 following equal rounds of 69s at the US$60,000 Asian Development Tour event.
The 33-year-old Siddikur, who had claimed his first ADT title on the same venue with a remarkable 12-stroke victory seven years ago, took advantage of his course knowledge again to put up another display on home soil.
“I’ve done really well over the first two days, having kept the errors out of my game under tough conditions. My putter was hot as I made three long birdie conversions including one from just off the green on 17,” said Siddikur.
“I managed to capitalise on all the four par-fives, making birdies on each one of them. I’ve now put myself in a good position to have a shot at the title. I’m really hungry to win in front of my home crowd once again. The key would be to keep my calm over the next two days,” he added.
Siddikur has been honing his skills for the past 19 years at the KGC where he has also worked as a ball boy to support his studies before turning professional in 2007.
He is also the first sportsman from his country to qualify for the 2016 Olympics Games on merit and was accorded the honour of being Bangladesh’s flagbearer during the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Siddikur also lauded the launch of the tournament on the ADT schedule. “The City Bank American Express Dhaka Open will go a long way in unearthing more golfing talent from Bangladesh. I’m really looking forward to see other Bangladesh players performing well this week,” expressed Siddikur.
The halfway cut was set at five-over-par 149 with a total of 58 players progressing into the final two rounds of the City Bank American Express Dhaka Open, which is the second ADT event to be held in Bangladesh since 2011.
The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2019.