It wasn’t long ago, only May last year that Siddikur Rahman threw away a three-shot lead with just three holes to play on the last day of AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open to eventually finish runner-up to his South Korean counterpart. It was agonizing.
Fourteen months later, after Siddikur finished third in another European Tour event, the emotion is not one of agony, rather it is one of joy. The star Bangladeshi golfer has left some of the finest golfers of the world behind on way to securing third position on European soil, and in his first ever event sanctioned only by the European Tour.
We are talking about Porsche European Open in Hamburg, Germany. There were Major winner Jimmy Walker, US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed and PGA Tour winner Pat Perez. Defending champion Frenchman Alexander Levy had to be content with the runner-up trophy as he lost to England’s Jordan Smith in play-off. Both finished on 13-under, two shots in front of Siddikur and Swedish golfer Johan Edfors.
And by dint of this superb feat, Siddikur received a check of 112,600 euros, which amounts to 1,06,70,365 taka! Quite a staggering amount for any Bangladeshi athlete! Siddikur had thus far earned 75 lakh taka this year and with this amount added, it will mean his career prize money has crossed 16 crore taka since 2009!
The course was long and the condition there was challenging. While the experienced golfers were using mid iron clubs, Siddikur grabbed continuous attention of the Sky Sports commentators with his unusual style of play. The 32-year-old was taking small strokes and on incomplete swing. And recoveries came in the form of brilliant chips and putts which he went on to continue confidently. Golfweek magazine featured Siddikur mid-way through the competition in its ‘Siddikur Rahman, once a poor boy from Bangladesh, contending for 1st Euro Tour win’ article.
Siddikur was in tenth position before the start of the fourth and final day. There were four birdies and no bogeys in first 12 holes! And he lifted himself up to the first position by the 16th hole. Smith and Levy started the day late and gradually took over the top spots. It was the second shot of the 18th hole that cost Siddikur the single third place finish as his shot went into the pond. However, he kept his nerve and finished things very well at the end.
A two-time Asian tour winner, Siddikur has taken his country to the Golf World Cup, only the fifth sporting discipline for Bangladesh to make it to the biggest stage of sports after cricket, chess, kabaddi and carrom (later roll ball and bridge teams made it to the world cups too). He is the first Bangladeshi ever to make it the Olympics on merit, going through the complex qualification process. A living legend in the same echelon of Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Rasel Mahmud Jimmy, Ziaur Rahman, the 32-year-old golf icon is continuing his rise to new heights. And fortunately golfers hit their peak between 35 and 40. So the best from Siddikur is perhaps yet to come.