Siddikur Rahman’s affinity for Delhi Golf Club (DGC) was clearly evident once again today when he took the first-round lead in The DGC Open presented Mastercard at the iconic golfing venue.
Bangladesh’s ace golfer, the winner of India’s national Open here in 2013 who also has 12 other top 10 finishes at DGC on the Asian Tour, fired an imperious seven-under-par 65.
Defending champion Nitithorn Thippong from Thailand, Filipino Justin Quiban and India’s Rashid Khan finished the day in a tie for second after shooting 67s – in the sixth Asian Tour event of the season.
Last week Siddikur, aged 38, shared the third-round lead in International Series Thailand after firing one of the finest rounds of his 18-year professional career, an eight-under-par 64. He slipped back on the final day finishing in a tie for 27th but he showed today that he is very much a player in form.
“Last week I played really well, and I am trying to maintain that confidence this week,” he said.
“It was a wonderful day today. I am hitting really, really, good, and putting really well. Especially happy it is a bogey-free round.”
He chipped in twice for birdies, on eight and 17, and made seven birdies in total, two on the front, five on the back.
He added: “I have been working on my fitness, my technique, my mental training – so that’s starting to pay off, I can hit any shot I want. It is all starting to work.”
Nicknamed ‘the Tiger of Dhaka’, he is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour (he also won the Brunei Open in 2010). Although relatively subdued over the past four years he showed glimpses of his former self by finishing tied third in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and joint fourth in the Bangladesh Open last year.
Nitithorn, who beat Indian Ajeetesh Sandhu in a sudden-death play-off here last year, made a late rally finishing eagle, birdie.
He started his round on hole 10 and made the turn in two under with birdies on 11 and 15.
Another birdie on the first suggested he was settling into his stride, but he made his only bogey of the day on the following hole before his fine finish.
“I holed from about 10 yards for my eagle on my 17th, the eighth,” said Nitithorn, who also won International Series Singapore last year to become one of only three players to win twice in 2022.
“I made a really good stroke on that putt, if it hadn’t hit the hole, I think it would have gone a long way past. I was lucky enough it went into the hole.”
The 26-year-old, who finished fourth on last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit, has yet to find his form this season but DGC is clearly bringing out the best in him.
“I felt very comfortable before the start and after five or six holes I was already two under,” said the Thai golfer.
“I struggled with my approach shots mid-way through the round, but I managed to get it on the green and hole some putts. Like last year I want to shoot 66 every day.”
Quiban started with 11 straight pars, then made three birdies in a row, followed by pars on 15 and 16, before two closing birdies.
“Front nine was kind of slow,” said the Filipino, who finished fifth here last year for his best result to date on the Asian Tour.
“But the back nine I was hitting it way closer, my putts started to go in and I had three straight birdies from 12. I got confident with my putting stroke.
“Off the tee was really good, I just never got myself out of position, I always had a good look into the green and stayed aggressive the whole day. I had a good round on the final day last week in Thailand, and I just feel more confident this week.”
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, Miguel Tabuena from the Philippines, India’s Varun Chopra and Chikkarangappa S, England’s Matt Killen, and Taichi Kho from Hong Kong all carded 68s.
Scores after round 1 of The DGC Open being played at the par 72, 6957 Yards Delhi GC course (am – denotes amateur):
65 – Siddikur Rahman (BAN).
67 – Justin Quiban (PHI), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Rashid Khan (IND).
68 – Chapchai Nirat (THA), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Varun Chopra (USA), Matt Killen (ENG), Taichi Kho (HKG), Chikkarangappa S (IND).
69 – Yuvraj Singh (am, IND), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Om Prakash Chouhan (IND), Jack Thompson (AUS).
70 – Ben Jones (ENG), Pratap Atwal (am, IND), Ian Snyman (RSA), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Veer Ahlawat (IND), Kevin Yuan (AUS), Douglas Klein (AUS), Ranjit Singh (IND), Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA).
71 – Chen Guxin (CHN), Shaurya Bhattacharya (am, IND), David Drysdale (SCO), Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS), Karandeep Kochhar (IND), Honey Baisoya (IND), Woohyun Kim (KOR), Naraajie Ramadhanputra (INA), Sachin Baisoya (IND), Abhijit Chadha (IND), Mj Viljoen (RSA), Aryan Roopa Anand (IND), Taehee Lee (KOR), Settee Prakongvech (THA), Dodge Kemmer (USA), Jeremy Gandon (FRA).
72 – Angad Cheema (IND), Akshay Sharma (IND), Yashas Chandra (IND), Matthew Cheung (HKG), Abhinav Lohan (IND), Prayad Marksaeng (THA), Ben Campbell (NZL), Sangpil Yoon (KOR), Shamim Khan (IND), Lu Wei-chih (TPE), Poom Saksansin (THA), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Tanapat Pichaikool (THA), S.S.P Chawrasia (IND).
73 – Matt Sharpstene (USA), Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA), Jyoti Randhawa (IND), Scott Hend (AUS), Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA), David Hague (ENG), Kapil Kumar (IND), Ayoub Lguirati (MOR), Ye Wocheng (CHN), Natipong Srithong (THA), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Danthai Boonma (THA), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Saptak Talwar (IND).
74 – Dru Love (USA), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Rikard Karlberg (SWE), Berry Henson (USA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA), Harshjeet Singh Sethie (IND), Ervin Chang (MAS), Panuphol Pittayarat (THA), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Manav Jaini (IND).
75 – Michael Maguire (USA), Aadil Bedi (IND), Angelo Que (PHI), Runchanapong Youprayong (THA), Gaurav Pratap Singh (IND), Shiv Kapur (IND), Gunn Charoenkul (THA), Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Dominic Foos (GER), Miguel Carballo (ARG), Karan Pratap Singh (IND), Kartik Sharma (IND).
76 – Marcus Fraser (AUS), Oliver Fisher (ENG), Viraj Madappa (IND), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Udayan Mane (IND), Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA), Jaewoong Eom (KOR), Amandeep Singh Johl (IND), Nick Voke (NZL), Ryuichi Oiwa (JPN), Mithun Perera (LKA), M Dharma (IND), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Aman Raj (IND), Denzel Ieremia (NZL), Nick Paez (USA), Trevor Simsby (USA).
77 – Wang Wei-hsuan (TPE), Taewoo Kim #1468 (KOR), Kieran Vincent (ZIM), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA), Varun Parikh (IND), James Leow (SIN), Lloyd Jefferson Go (PHI).
78 – Rohit Baisoya (IND), Pawan Kumar (IND), Poom Pattaropong (THA).
79 – Harimohan Singh (am, IND), Khalin Joshi (IND), Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (IND), Denwit Boriboonsub (THA), Othman Almulla (KSA).
80 – Peter Badawy (LBN), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (IND), Amritinder Singh (IND), Arthur Barakat (LBN), Harmeet Kahlon (IND).
81 – Dean Naime (am, EGY), Vikrant Chopra (IND), Karan Vasudeva (IND).
82 – Naman Dawar (IND).
84 – Saarthak Chhibber (IND).
86 – Alex Ching (USA).