Day one belongs to Mardan, O’Toole
The four-day ‘Bashundhara Bangladesh Open 2015’, the first ever Asian Tour golf tournament in the country, has inaugurated at the prestigious Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) in the capital from Wednesday.
Bashundhara Group, the country’s leading business conglomerate, is the title sponsor of the international golf event involving prizes totalling US$300,000.
Additional Managing Director of Bashundhara Group Safwan Sobhan attended and witnessed the opening round event. Associate Director Business Development Asian Tour, Irfan Hamid, Asian Tour Development Manager Mr. Mohammad Shariz, Adviser of Bashundhara Group Maj Gen (retd) Mahbub Haider Khan, Bashundhara Group Adviser (PR) and Head of AHR Lt Col (retd) Khandaker Abdul Wahed, Media Advisor of Bashundhara Group Mohammad Abu Tayeb were also present on the occasion.
In the day’s opening round, Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat fired a five-under-par 66 to share the opening round clubhouse lead with Casey O’Toole of the United States. Bangladesh ace Siddikur Rahman stumbled to a disappointing 72 to trail the early pacesetters by six shots.
Mardan, a four-time Asian Tour winner, stayed patient despite two weather delays to return with six birdies at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
O’Toole, an Asian Development Tour (ADT) regular, birdied all the par-fives to tie for the lead in his first ever Asian Tour event while India’s Amardip Malik trailed by one shot in third place.
Janne Kaske of Finland, who won his first title on the ADT two weeks back, and Sanjay Kumar of India shared fourth place on 68.
The 47-year-old veteran Mardan, who finished third in Mauritius a fortnight ago, overcame the windy and rainy conditions to charge into a share of the lead which he rates as one of his favourite golf courses.
“It was a long day so I’m very happy with the result. This golf course suits my game a lot. It isn’t a power golf course but more of a thinking course. You have to keep the ball in play and hit it straight. This is the type of golf course which I like to play on.” Mardan said.
Heavy rain stopped play on two occassions during the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open but Mardan was steadfast as he put his experience to good use.
“The rain delays were a bit frustrating but I had to make sure that didn’t spoil my momentum. I kept myself very patient. I knew it will be a long day, so I told myself to keep calm and steady,” the Singaporean explained.
For Bangladesh, country’s top golfer Siddikur finished first round a one- over-par 72. He had a sound start after teeing off but failed to keep the early gear.
At the end of the day, Siddikur could earn four birdies but got five bogeys.
Siddikur who got two bogeys in back nine events, stumbling in the front nine events saw three more bogeys.
After end of the first round his position is now 33.
Siddikur took his tee shot at the tenth hole at 7:30am with Digvijay Singh (India) and Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand).
I started well but I made too many mistakes. It was windy out there and to be honest, I have not played in this condition at Kurmitola before. But it is okay because I have confidence and have three more days to go.” Siddikur said.
Heavy rain stopped play on two occassions during the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open but Siddikur said the persistent rain was blessing for him.
“During the bad weather, I played really good golf but I couldn’t play well when the weather was better! I won’t do anything differently. This is not an easy course. The rough is long and the key is to find fairways and greens. I’m not disappointed with my first round scores. I need to motivate myself to do better. There’s still a long way to go. I have a good chance to recover.” Siddikur added.
On the other hand, another Bangladesh representative Dulal Hossain finished 19th position with par 9 to share the opening round with Lee Cho-Chuan of the Taiwan.
The Asian Tour event started after Koh Deng Shan of Singapore, and Afnan Mahmud Mahi and Mohammad Musa of Bangladesh took their tee shots at the first hole at 6:30am.
At the same time, Lalith Kumara (Sri Lanka), Goh Kun Yang (Singapore), and M Nur Jamal (Bangladesh) hit tee shots at the tenth hole.
Country’s golf ace Siddiqur Rahman aside, a total of 150 Asian professionals from 25 nations, including 31 Bangladesh golfers, will participate in the four-day world-class golf meet.
The first round of the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open was suspended at 6.50 pm due to fading light. A total of 30 players will return today at 6.25am to resume their rounds.