bangla.2016An international cast of players from over 30 countries will feature in the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open which gets underway next week.

An elite 138-man field will battle it out for a share of the US$300,000 prize fund when the tournament returns for its second edition at the Kurmitola Golf Club from February 10 to 13.

Defending champion Mardan Mamat of Singapore will headline the event alongside home-grown hero Siddikur Rahman as well as young Thai talent Danthai Boonma and veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, who holds a record total of 18 victories on the region’s premier Tour.

Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, Carlos Pigem of Spain, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka will be amongst the promising stars in the field hunting for a breakthrough Asian Tour victory at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open.

Perera, who is relishing a return to his happy hunting ground, said: “This is one of my favourite golf courses. It suits my game a lot and I am looking forward to going back again.

“I’ve been travelling to Bangladesh a lot for the past 10 years and I can say February is probably the best time to visit the country because the weather is cooler. I believe the playing conditions will be great when we head over next week,” added the bubbly 29-year-old.

Also in the fray are Indian duo Rahil Gangjee and Gaganjeet Bhullar, as well as Khalin Joshi and Soomin Lee of Korea, who shared second place in the inaugural edition last season.

A host of Qualifying School graduates, led by Yikeun Chang of Korea and American Dodge Kemmer, will also be bidding to make their marks in what is the third leg of the Asian Tour schedule this season.

Other notable names include reigning Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit winner Casey O’Toole of the United States, 2014 ADT merit champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand and compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai, who become the youngest ADT winner when he won at the age of 15 years old last March.

With the Olympic Games looming in July where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open will be a good opportunity for players in the region to earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro with the Official World Golf Ranking points on offer.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Siddikur, ranked 310th in the world, is in line to qualify for the Olympics as he is currently ranked 58th on the Olympics Rankings list. The qualifying cut off for the Olympics is July 11, 2016.

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