Bogey-free Siddikur, Sajib get decent starts among Bangladeshis
Mohammad Muaj took the local crowd by surprise, emerging as the highest-placed Bangladeshi after carding six-under-par 65 to share second place, while Australia’s Maverick Antcliff took a two-shot solo lead on his debut appearance at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open Wednesday.
Antcliff hit an opening eight-under-par 63.
Muaj missed the halfway cut in his last two attempts in 2017 and 2018.
But in his third appearance at his National Open, the 21-year-old struck seven birdies along with a bogey to claim his personal best score at Kurmitola Golf Club where he has never broken 70 in his previous attempts.
The eventual leader Antcliff returned with a bogey-free card highlighted by eight birdies to stay ahead of local hope Muaj, Chinese Taipei’s Wang Weilun, as well as Thai trio Jazz Janewattananond, Settee Prakongvech and Sadom Kaewkanjana at the $350,000 event.
The 25-year-old Australian enjoyed a tied-fourth place finish when he made his Asian Tour debut in China two years ago, and was later thrilled to put up a flawless display of golf and regain some confidence after missing the halfway cut in his last two starts.
Bangladesh’s poster boy Siddikur Rahman grabbed a share of seventh place alongside four others – compatriot Sajib Ali, India’s Rashid Khan, United States’ Trevor Simsby and Singapore’s Gregory Foo - after they signed for matching 66s.
Both the Bangladeshis went bogey-free and posted five birdies each to finish at five-under-par on the 71 par course under enjoyable weather conditions amid a huge nor’wester threat.
However, Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden opened up his title defence with a flawless 67 to trail by four shots in tied-12th place at the National Open of Bangladesh, which is celebrating its fifth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour this week.
WHAT THEY SAID
Maverick Antcliff (Australia) – First round 63 (-8)
I am really happy with the way I played. I wanted to come and play here last year but couldn’t get my visa approved in time. It’s nice to be here finally. I have been working hard on my game after my first few events back home.
Mohammad Muaj (Bangladesh) – First round 65 (-6)
This is the best round I have shot on this course. I am really pleased. I didn’t expect myself to shoot six-under. It feels really nice. I gave myself a lot of birdie chances actually but I made a few mistakes out there.
I just stay in it and kept the good momentum going. Everything was good for me. I managed to hit it close. All my birdies were from within six feet. I putted very well as well.
Jazz Janewattananond (Thailand) – First round 65 (-6)
I started off really good. I made a lot of birdies but it kind of slowed down on the back. But overall, it’s still pretty good round. I hit a bad drive on the 17th hole, hit the cart path and bounced into the water. It’s the only bogey of the day so it’s not too bad.
Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh) – First round 66 (-5)
I felt really comfortable out there. It was nice to come back with a bogey-free round with five birdies. I left a few birdies putts out there but overall, it was good. My hitting was excellent. I putted well too. I had a really tricky line on the 18th but I made it and it reminded me of my birdie on that hole to finish second place two years ago. It was nice to finish off with that birdie again. I think that’s my lucky hole! I holed it from about 15 feet. I just want to keep to the same rhythm for the next few days and enjoy myself out there.
Mohammad Sajib Ali (Bangladesh) – First round 66 (-5)
Everything was good for me. I played very well. This is my home course and I am very familiar with this course. I made a 30-footer for birdie on the second hole and that was good. I putted well. I am really happy with the way I played. I hope to continue my good form for the next three rounds. My lowest round on this course was a nine-under. Hopefully I can get that score again this week.