Kuala Lumpur: Local prospect Shakhawat hopes the Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters will springboard his career as he vies to emulate the success of countryman Siddikur.
Shakhawat, a former Bangladesh national team captain, will be gearing up to challenge for honours in the season-opening US$75,000 Asian Development Tour event at Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka from February 3 to 6.
He will be joined by Siddikur, who is the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour, Neil Reilly of England, a former European Tour player and talented young guns Justin Han of Singapore, Bruneian Faiz Damit and Malaysian Haziq Hamizan.
Shakhawat, who used to work at the Kurmitola Golf Club as a caddy before joining the national team, missed an opportunity to earn his Asian Tour card after finishing outside the top-40 of Qualifying School in Thailand last week.
He hopes to make amends with a good result or even a victory in the first ever Asian Development Tour event to be held in Bangladesh.
“I hit the ball pretty well last week but made a couple of mistakes. But it is okay because it was my first time playing in the Asian Tour Qualifying School. I’m going to give my best again at the Bangladesh Masters,” said the 26-year-old.
Fresh from turning professional in December last year, Shakhawat admits he lacks the experience of playing competitively but is determined to shine and make his country proud.
“Siddikur has done a lot for golf in the country and I feel that it is my time to do something for Bangladesh. I don’t have much experience yet but I’m going to take it as a learning curve,” he added.
The stakes are high for the Asian Development Tour hopefuls as the top three on the Order of Merit will earn playing rights for the 2012 Asian Tour season.
Last year, Malaysians S. Siva Chandhran and Akhmal Tarmizee finished first and third respectively on the Asian Development Tour Order of Merit and Haziq, a former national team player, is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
“That’s definitely my goal this year to finish in the top-three of the Order of Merit. This is my first visit to Bangladesh and I’m really looking forward to playing there,” said the 23-year-old.
“I missed out on Qualifying School last week but I believe I’m slowly improving as a player. I’ve been working on my game and I hope it pays off,” added Haziq, who is still searching for his maiden professional victory.
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com