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Dhaka: Siddikur of Bangladesh made a dash towards the finishing line after posting a three-under-par 69 in the third round of the Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters on Saturday.


Siddikur produced his highest score of the week but his three-day total of 16-under-par 200 was still nine strokes better than compatriot Md. Milon Ahmed who closed with a 68 at the Kurmitola Golf Club.


Flamboyant Japanese prospect Yosuke Tsukada closed with a 69 to lie in third place on a 210 total while Md. Liton Howlader of Bangladesh was a stroke back in fourth place in the US$75,000 Asian Development Tour event.


Javed Inayat, a former ball boy from the Karachi Golf Club in Pakistan, fired the tournament’s first hole-in-one which he sank with a six-iron on the 177-yard sixth hole. He returned with a 67 for a 214 total to lie in tied seventh place.


Siddikur mixed his card with eight birdies against five bogeys and despite his distant lead, he said there are kinks in his game which has to be straightened out.


“I had only five pars because I couldn’t make many up-and-downs. I need to work on my short game which was a letdown,” he said.


Siddikur attributed his vast lead to his experience of playing and winning on the Asian Tour. “Playing on the Asian Tour definitely shaped my golf game and how I approach tournaments. The experience has certainly prepared me to face the challenges in competitive tournaments,” he added.


Tsukada, who has the funkiest hairstyle this week, continued his consistent run as he returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by three birdies.


“The people here are so nice and I feel at home. I was just trying to make pars. The golf course is tight and tricky so you have to keep hitting fairways. I’m enjoying the challenge here and I believe it will give me more experience,” said the 25-year-old, who finished outside the top-40 of the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Thailand last month.


Pakistani Inayat was beaming with confidence after his ace which led to further birdies on holes seven, 11 and 15. He was also greeted with hugs by compatriots Danyaal Jehangir and Aadil Jehangir at the clubhouse after they knew of his feat.


“I was standing on the tee box and was thinking of using a six or seven iron. I opted for a seven iron and it landed about two club lengths from the hole and rolled in. I didn’t even know I shot a hole-in-one until my caddy and flight mates started shouting,” said the 43-year-old.


After shooting his first hole-in-one in a competitive tournament, he is now eyeing a good finish to help fund for future Asian Development Tour events.


“I played in the first stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School but didn’t make it into the Final Stage. If I get more sponsors, I will play in all the Asian Development Tour events this year and try to finish in the top-three of the Order of Merit. Even if I can get a good result here, I’ll be able to fund for my next event,” he added.


The Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters is the curtain raiser for the 2011 Asian Development Tour. The top three players on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn their Asian Tour cards for 2012.


The Asian Development Tour, structured along the lines of the Nationwide Tour in the United States and European Challenge Tour, was launched in 2010 with tournaments already staged in Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Chinese Taipei.


Leading third round scores

200 – Siddikur (BAN) 66-65-69

209 - Md. Milon AHMED (BAN) 72-69-68

210 - Yosuke TSUKADA (JPN) 70-71-69

211 - Md. Liton HOWLADER (BAN) 69-71  -71

212 - Ross CANAVAN (ENG) 71-72-69, Hirotaro NAITO (JPN) 70-70-72

214 - Javed INAYAT (PAK) 73-74-67, Md. Sayum MIAH (BAN) 70-72-72, Md. Zamal Hossain MOLLAH (BAN) 72-68-74

215 - Md. A. MOTIN (BAN)  68-71-76

216 - Md. Jakiruzzaman (A) (BAN) 71-75-70, Kenichi SAWADA (JPN) 74-71-71

217 - Masaki SAKATA (JPN) 76-69-72, Bryan SALTUS (USA) 71-72-74

218 - Md. Jibon ALI (BAN) 75-73-70, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN)   72-75-71, Justin BRINK (IRL) 71-72-75

219 - Neil REILLY (ENG) 72-73-74, Takafumi KAWANE (JPN) 73-71-75, Md. Rezaul KARIM (BAN) 74-70      -75


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