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Siem Reap, Cambodia: History-maker Siddikur of Bangladesh hopes to live up to tag as an inspirational role model for his countrymen when he competes at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open which tees off on Thursday.


Since graduating from the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2009, the 26-year-old Bangladeshi has ignited the dreams of many of his compatriots who are yearning to find similar success like he did on the Asian Tour.


Siddikur became the first man from Bangladesh to win a title on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open in August and his achievements have inspired many to follow his footsteps.


After his historic win in Brunei, Siddikur narrowly missed out on his second Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei after losing in a play-off to Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul in October.


But he continued to show his potential by outperforming some of the best players in the world in high profile events in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong in the following months.


He had another noteworthy tied-fifth finish in India last week and will start the week in Cambodia as one of hot favourites to win the US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event that is now into its fourth edition.


“My form is very good and I’m looking forward to this week in Cambodia. I started playing well after the Queen’s Cup in Koh Samui and since then I’ve managed to achieve many good results,” said Siddikur who grew up in a poor family where his father worked as a farmer and taxi driver to raise a family of four sons.


“To be honest, I don’t really see myself as a superstar despite the widespread publicity on my achievements back home. I’m just happy to do my part in growing the popularity of golf in my country. It’s nice to know that I’ve set the benchmark for my countrymen to follow,” added Siddikur who worked as a ball boy and caddie at the Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka to fund his school education and eventually got interested in the game.


Siddikur will be up against a host of elite players at the Phokeethra Country Club. Among the other big names confirmed for the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open include defending champion Marcus Both of Australia, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat as well as Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee who jointly hold the most number of Asian Tour victories.


As the penultimate event on the 2010 Asian Tour Schedule before the season finale King’s Cup in Hua Hin, the battle for playing rights for next season will also intensify with players aiming for a good finish to earn their full playing rights for next season.


Philippines Artemio Murakami who is currently in 70th place on the Order of Merit knows that he has to produce his best form that led him to his first Asian Tour win at the Iskandar Johor Open to retain any hope of maintaining his Tour card.


“My form has been bad this season. I’ve been struggling a lot especially with my driver. But I know that I’m capable of better results. I’ve always done well at this golf course. I like this course and I’m looking forward to a good result this week,” said Murakami who is eyeing a place inside the top-61 on the rankings, which is the cut-off mark for players to earn their Tour card for 2011.


Photo - Asian Tour


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