Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat battled to a five-under-par 66 to share the clubhouse lead with Casey O’Toole of the United States in the opening round of the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open on Wednesday.
Mardan, a four-time Asian Tour winner, stayed patient despite two weather delays to take his place atop the leaderboard with six birdies at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event staged at the challenging Kurmitola Golf Club.
O’Toole, an Asian Development Tour (ADT) regular, birdied all the par-fives to tie for the lead in his first ever Asian Tour event while India’s Amardip Malik and Carlos Pigem of Spain trailed by one shot in third place.
Janne Kaske of Finland, who won his first title on the ADT two weeks ago, placed sixth alongside Indians Sanjay Kumar and Sujjan Singh on matching 68s. Popular Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman stumbled to a disappointing 72 to trail the early pacesetters by six shots.
The first round of the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open was suspended at 6.50 pm due to fading light. A total of 30 players will return on Thursday at 6.25am to resume their rounds.
Two weeks after finishing third in Maurtius, Mardan, who rates the Kurmitola course as one of his favourite golf courses, put his experience to good use as he overcame the windy and rainy conditions.
“This golf course suits my game a lot. It isn’t a power golf course but more a thinking course. You have to keep the ball in play and hit it straight. This is the type of golf course which I like to play on,” said Mardan.
Heavy rain stopped play on two occassions in the morning but Mardan remained calm and collected as he charged to the top of the leaderboard.
“The rain delays were a bit frustrating but I had to make sure it didn’t spoil my momentum.
I kept myself very patient. I knew it will be a long day so I told myself to keep calm and steady,” explained the Singaporean.
The 24-year-old O’Toole enjoyed a flying start in his first Asian Tour event after turning in 33 and adding three more birdies on his homeward nine.
“I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I birdied all the par fives and hit it solid. It feels good to get off to a get start and shoot under-par but we still have far to go. I’ll try to keep my head down and see how it goes.
After winning his first career title on the local tour last year, Malik of India will look to current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Anirban Lahiri for inspiration as he aims to challenge for the title.
“A lot of Indian boys are doing well especially Anirban Lahiri and that’s motivation for me. If one of us can do well, why not all of us?” said Malik.
“It was tough out there especially with the delays and rain. The rain delay didn’t help at all because I returned to three-putt on two holes (3 and 8) for bogeys! I’m glad I recovered nicely,” he added.
Siddikur, a two-time Asian Tour winner, fired a disappointing 72 on his home course and will need to produce a superlative performance to challenge for his National Open title.
“I won’t do anything differently. This is not an easy course. The rough is long and the key is to find fairways and greens. I’m not disappointed with my first round scores. I need to motivate myself to do better,” said the Bangladeshi.
Scores after round 1 of the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open 2015 being played at the par 71, 6579 Yards Kurmitola GC course (am – denotes amateur):
66 – Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Casey O’TOOLE (USA).
67 – Amardip MALIK (IND), Carlos PIGEM (ESP).
68 – Sanjay KUMAR (IND), Janne KASKE (FIN), Sujjan SINGH (IND).
69 – Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA), Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND), Om Prakash CHOUHAN (IND), Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (JPN), David GLEESON (AUS).
70 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN), Soomin LEE (KOR).
71 – KOH Deng Shan (SIN), Phiphatphong NAEWSUK (THA), Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA), Berry HENSON (USA), Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA), Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA), Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA), Pasavee LERTVILAI (THA), Khalin JOSHI (IND).
72 – Chiragh KUMAR (IND), Rizal AMIN (MAS), LEE Sung (KOR), Angad CHEEMA (IND), Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN), Panuwat MUENLEK (THA), Akinori TANI (JPN), George GANDRANATA (INA), Matthew STIEGER (AUS), Dil Mohammad (am, BAN), Md. Sajib ALI (BAN), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Bryce EASTON (RSA), Jarin TODD (USA).