Kokocinski seeks successful title defence at Bangabandhu Cup

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Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski hopes to get his season back on track with a successful title defence at the US$350,000 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open 2019, which gets underway at the Kurmitola Golf Club on Wednesday.

Kokocinski, who started plying his trade on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2013, broke through on the premier Asian Tour after capping an inspiring victory last year where he won by three shots following a closing six-under-par 65.

Despite struggling to replicate his success since making his ascent onto the Asian Tour, Kokocinski remained patient as he believes the experiences will help him regain his confidence when he challenges for top honours again on his favourite hunting ground.

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the highest-ranked Asian Tour player in the 150-man field this week, is relishing his return to the Kurmitola Golf Club for the first time since securing his maiden win on the same venue two years ago.

Now a three-time Asian Tour winner, the 23-year-old Jazz is looking to ride on the beautiful memories in his chase for a fourth title and a second one this season to become the first player to win the Bangladesh Open more than once.

Home hero Siddikur Rahman will spearhead the local charge, which consists of 41 professionals and six amateurs, in what is the National Open of Bangladesh. They will aim to become the first Bangladeshi to lift the trophy since the event was inaugurated in 2015.

The Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open 2019, which is the National Open of Bangladesh, welcomed a new title sponsor in the National Bank Ltd, a public limited bank in Bangladesh.

The tournament has been named in honour of the father of the nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The highly-acclaimed Kurmitola Golf Club continues to provide top-class hospitality as the home of the Bangladesh’s National Open.

Did you know?

  • Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden became the third straight player in the tournament history to claim his Asian Tour breakthrough at the event, where he triumphed by three shots last year.
  • Kokocinski had enjoyed a superb run on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), where he had claimed four top-three results in six starts, prior to securing his first Asian Tour win.
  • Out of his four top-three results on the ADT last year, two were obtained at the Kurmitola Golf Club where he finished second at the City Bank Amex Dhaka Open in January and tied-third at the BTI Open in April.
  • Kokocinski, however, has struggled to find success since his Asian Tour breakthrough. He made the halfway cuts on seven occasions in his next 14 starts before ending the 2018 season in 51st place on the Order of Merit.
  • The 27-year-old Swede also missed four consecutive cuts after finishing tied-38th at the 2019 season-opener in Singapore.
  • Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand is the highest-ranked player in the 150-man field this week. He sits in second place on the latest Habitat for Humanity Standings and 73rd on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
  • Jazz will return to the venue where he claimed his maiden Asian Tour title in 2017. That victory was especially sweet for him because it came shortly after he lost his Asian Tour card when he did not finish inside top-60 on the 2016 Order of Merit and failed to regain his playing rights at the Qualifying School.
  • The amazing career turnaround two years ago also marked the start of Jazz’s epic rise as he went on to notch five other top-10s to finish in ninth place on the 2017 Order of Merit. He secured a second win and first on home soil before making his Major debut at The Open in 2018.
  • Jazz’s solid form continued into 2019 as he claimed his third title and his career’s biggest win yet at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open in January. The talented young Thai also capped back-to-back top-five finishes in New Zealand and Malaysia in his last three starts on Tour.
  • Siddikur Rahman marked the best ever result produced by a Bangladeshi at the 2017 Bangladesh Open. He birdied the 18th hole to close with a five-under-par 66 and a 13-under-par 271 total, finishing four shots shy of winner Jazz to take second place on his own.
  • The Kurmitola Golf Club is the home course of Siddikur, who used to work as a ball boy at the club to support his studies. He is currently attached to Kurmitola Golf Club as an honorary member.
  • Siddikur became the first player from Bangladesh to win on the Asian Tour when he emerged victorious at the Brunei Open in 2010. Also became the first sportsman from his country to qualify for the 2016 Olympics on merit and was accorded the honour of becoming Bangladesh’s flagbearer during the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Two weeks ago, Siddikur finished tied-15th at the lucrative Maybank Championship in Malaysia. He sits in 18th place on the Merit rankings.
  • All the past champions of the Bangladesh’s National Open will feature in the field this week. They are Singapore’s Mardan Mamat (2015), Thai duo Thitiphun Chuayprakong (2016) and Jazz Janewattananond (2017), as well as defending champion Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden.

Players’ quotes:

Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE) – Defending champion

I really enjoy playing here at the Kurmitola Golf Club. It feels good to be back. I have been playing well for the last couple of weeks but just made high numbers on the golf course. I have played a lot of new courses which I have not gotten used to as well.

But having said that, I am pretty familiar with the course here at the Kurmitola Golf Club. I had a few good results here when I played the Asian Development Tour events prior to my win.

Unfortunately, there was a big storm a few days ago and a couple of trees have fallen on the course. Apart from that, the conditions are good, not much difference from last year. It’s still in a good shape and I think it will be fun.

I pretty much remember every single shot from my final round last year. The win last year has definitely put my career in the right direction. It was stepping stone for me. I have played a lot of new golf courses now. I expected myself to do better after my win. It has been a long season but I am hoping to change my momentum after this week.

The bigger the event, the more pressure I put on myself but I learnt the most from playing bad then playing well so it’s a good thing.

This is a fun course. You can play it in so many different ways. I like to play aggressive and sometimes safe and you have to be smart around this course. I want to win again this week, absolutely.

Jazz Janewattananond (THA)

This is where I got my first win. The first win that kickstarted my career and led to where I am right now. It’s really nice to be back here to where I won two years ago.

It’s good to see how the course has changed. It’s just amazing to be back. Playing the course brings back a lot of good memories.

I see a lot of improvements in the golf course this year. It’s really unfortunate with the storm that we got earlier this week. I would say it could be easier with lesser trees but it’s still playing quite tough.

Siddikur Rahman (BAN)

I have a lot of good memories on this course. I had my best result at the Bangladesh Open here in 2017. I always hope for the best and it’s always nice to be back home playing my National Open.

The game is feeling good. I played some solid golf in Malaysia two weeks ago. I am really proud of myself with the good result that week. I hope to bring over the momentum this week.

It was unfortunate that trees were fallen due to the storm earlier this week. It felt pretty open without the trees so it might take awhile to get used to. The golf course is in top condition so I thought it was a pity that the storm came.

I believe we can still enjoy the course as much as before this week. I am really looking forward to this week. There is a lot of pressure when you play on your home course.

You can’t get away with that but with the way that I have been playing and the preparation work that I have done, I don’t think there will be a problem.

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