Kuala Lumpur: Fresh from another highly rewarding week, Bangladeshi’s rising star Siddikur heads to the inaugural Indonesian Masters this week with his confidence soaring and his appetite whetted for more success.
The stocky history-maker, Bangladesh’s first ever winner on the Asian Tour, finished an impressive eighth at the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday, beating the likes of world number one Martin Kaymer of Germany and new Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
While the 26-year-old Siddikur did not challenge for victory, a cheque of US$62,500 pushed him up to second place on the latest Asian Tour’s Order of Merit behind S.S.P. Chowrasia of India and installed him as one of the favourites at Royale Jakarta Golf Club this week.
The inaugural US$750,000 Indonesian Masters will be headlined by world number two Lee Westwood of England and three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, who was happy with a tied 17th outing in Malaysia in what was his first tournament after a back injury.
Chowrasia, winner of the season-opening Avantha Masters in India, leads the rankings with US$410,077.
But the man of the moment must surely be the unassuming Siddikur, who only a year ago was still very much an unknown entity until he burst onto the scene with his triumph at the Brunei Open.
Last month, he finished second in the SAIL Open in India after leading into the final round and pundits believe he will secure a second career title very soon, if not at the Indonesian Masters this week.
“I’m happy to finish in the top-10 and show the world that a player from Bangladesh can perform in such a big event,” said Siddikur, who carded rounds of 68, 71, 71 and 79 last week to beat Kaymer by one and Schwartzel by two.
“I’m getting better and my confidence level is high.”
Siddikur grew up from humble surroundings in Dhaka and fashioned his first club with a seven iron head stuck to a metal rod. He worked as a ball boy in the local club to fund his studies and subsequently learned the game where he became the country’s top amateur golfer.
He emerged onto the scene in style last season where apart from his victory in Brunei, he pulled off four other top-10s to finish in an impressive seventh place on the Order of Merit.
Other top names heading to Royale Jakarta include this season’s winners Anirban Lahiri of India and big-hitting Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who triumphed in the Panasonic Open (India) and SAIL Open respectively.
Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, former Asian number one Jyoti Randhawa and Australian duo Rick Kulacz and Darren Beck, both champions in the region, will also compete in the Indonesian Masters, which is being positioned as the nation’s most prestigious championship.
A total of 15 players from the current top-20 of the Order of Merit will feature in the Indonesian Masters, which starts on Thursday.
Order of Merit Top-20
Pos Name Winnings
1. S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) 410,077
2. SIDDIKUR (BAN) 117,607
3. Sujjan SINGH (IND 97,326
4. Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 89,769
5. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 89,163
6. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 72,833
7. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 66,720
8. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 57,717
9. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 54,473
10. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 53,449
11. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 51,723
11. Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 51,723
13. Angelo QUE (PHI) 51,538
14. Manav JAINI (IND) 40,215
15. Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 40,177
16. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 40,139
17. BAEK Seuk-Hyun (KOR) 39,141
18. Darren BECK (AUS) 38,966
19. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 34,239
20. Mark FOSTER (ENG) 30,996
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com