Akbar Hossain was quite an unknown quantity to most of the golf followers even a few days ago. The golfer from Comilla had done considerably well in the amateur circuit, but that was not yet good enough to earn the plaudits from the people who do not follow the game closely. The young golfer turned pro recently, and on his debut professional tournament, he stunned everyone by finishing fourth on the leaderboard with a score of seven-under-par (281) in the City Bank American Express Dhaka Open. Unlike a rookie, Akbar held his nerve and carded under-par scores in all the four rounds of the event, finishing ahead of many of his more illustrious compatriots and foreigners too. The golf officials have high expectations from this talented golfer. The lad from the Mainamati Golf and Country Club is himself excited at having passed his first test with flying colors. Now he is looking forward to continuing his good work with determination and hard work. Let’s hear from him:

Q: This was your first tournament since turning pro. How satisfied are you with your performance?

A: I think I’ve done pretty well. This was my first tournament since turning pro. I’m very excited with my performance.

Q: What was your plan for the tournament?

A: My plan was as usual; things I always do. I knew if I could hit the fair and regulation well, I would be able to play my natural game. Thankfully I did things pretty well.

Q: Siddikur Rahman won the event. Do you think the gap between Siddikur and others is growing wider in terms of winning and in terms of performance?

A: Since Siddikur bhai plays big tournaments regularly, he can play this like he does every week. For us, it’s different. We don’t play such big tournaments. So it’s a matter of experience. I’ve never played such a big tournament before. But if we get to play more of these tournaments, we will improve like Siddikur bhai.

Q: What is your target for the year?

A: I want to play in all the local tournaments this year. If I can save some money, I will try to go for qualification in the Indian Tour next year.

Q: How are you preparing yourself for the challenge? Are you taking any help from any teaching professional?

A: I took a training course in Malaysia with Andrew Argus while I was still an amateur. I know I will have to train a lot harder to do well as a professional.

Q: What is the difference that you felt playing as an amateur and as a professional?

A: I was a bit nervous on the first day. I played against a lot of good players in the Asia Pacific Amateur Tournament, but never felt that kind of nervousness. But here I felt it. After playing well in the first round, I got the confidence.

Q: You are from the Mainamati Golf and Country Club. Tell us about your experience there?

A: we get much more playing opportunities there. We used to play six days a week. Me, Russel and Farhad — we have been given so much opportunity to play there. W can play any time we like. The secretary sir and the GOC sir look after us kindly.

Q: Do you think that helped you a lot in playing well here?

A: Well, the club was closed for a few days before this tournament. So I could not train during that time. I got to train a few days at the KGC before the tournament started. So I was nervous. I was also nervous thinking whether I could succeed as a professional golfer, having to arrange money and with the challenge of earning money. But after the first round, I got confident and did well.

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