Siddikur Rahman, the undisputed King of golf in Bangladesh, is always an ever-present threat in the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Bangladesh Open, helped by the fact it is played on his home course, Kurmitola Golf Club – where he learned to play the game and where he has enjoyed phenomenal success.
He has won the tournament once here before but that was in 2010 when it was part of the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and so not on the same scale as it is today, and indeed this week.
So, when the US$400,000 tournament tees-off on Thursday could this finally be his year?
Well, the signs are there that he is coming into the tournament better placed than ever before.
Buoyed by an equal third place finish in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in September and mightily excited to see his National Open back after a two-year COVID-19 enforced break, the Bangladeshi, who turned 38 on Sunday, is in confident mood.
“So far this season my game has been very good,” said Rahman, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, with the most recent being the Hero Indian Open in 2013.
“The last few months I’ve been playing very well, especially at my home course. As you know in Taiwan I finished tied third, and now I’m very confident with my game because I can play the way I want to play. So, I’m very positive and very confident with my game at the moment.”
Couple that with an astonishing haul of titles at Kurmitola – he has won two Asian Development Tour titles here, over 30 local professional events, and five amateur tournaments – and it could well lead to the biggest week of his career.
Said Rahman: “It would mean a lot to me [to win], because the last couple times I was close I couldn’t win. I was close but I finished second in 2017. It would be very meaningful to me if I could hold the trophy at least one time soon.”
He adds: “Honestly, I’m very happy whenever Asian Tour tournaments comes to Bangladesh. Unfortunately, we couldn’t organise the Bangladesh Open the last two years because of COVID, but I’m really excited that this time it is going to happen on the Asian Tour, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Since the tournament joined the Asian Tour in 2015, his best finish was runner-up by four shots to Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond five years ago, while his worse finish was joint 38th in that first year. He tied for 12th when it was last played in 2019. He was also second in 2011 and 2012.
Asked if Kurmitola’s old-school type of course suits his style of game he said: “Yes always. Kurmitola is my home course and it’s the place I grew up, it’s the golf course where I learned to play golf. The course suits my game and I’m always happy to play here.”
There are two other top Bangladeshi professionals who Rahman thinks could be ready for Asian Tour success this week, Jamal Hossain and Badal Hossain, both currently playing in India and ranked fifth and 30th respectively on the PGTI Order of Merit.
He said: “I think that there are a few players, especially like Jamal Hossain and Badal Hossain. These two are playing very good on the Indian Tour. And like I said, recently Jamal has shot some very good scores, so I can see that he’s been playing very good golf. So, I think there are a few other Bangladeshi players who have a very good chance to play well in the Bangladesh Open this week.”