Siddikur fires bogey-free round to take two-shot lead in DGC Open

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Siddikur Rahman continued his love affair with the Delhi Golf Club, firing a bogey-free seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead on day one of the USD 750,000 The DGC Open on Thursday.

The 38-year-old golfer from Bangladesh was trailed by a trio that included two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan, the defending champion Nitithorn Thippong and Filipino Justin Quiban, who all shot 67 each.

Like Siddikur, Rashid’s effort was also bogey-free.

Familiarity with the DGC was the common thread between the top four, as three of them had won their maiden Asian Tour title at this venue. Siddikur, Rashid and Nitithorn have won twice each on the Asian Tour and one of those wins has come at this venue for all three.

Quiban is yet to win on the Asian tour, but his career-best finish came at this venue last year during the The DGC Open.

Siddikur won the Hero Indian Open at this venue in 2013, while Rashid Khan won the SAIL-SBI Open at DGC, where incidentally Siddikur was the runner-up. Overall, Siddikur has 13 top-10 finishes in 16 starts at the DGC. Besides one win, he has four runner-up finishes at the DGC.

On a low-scoring day, six players were tied for the fifth place with 68 each. The group included another Indian, S Chikkarangappa, who was tied-sixth last week in Thailand. The bunch also included Varun Chopra, an Indian-born, who has now migrated to the US but plays on the Indian Tour.

Siddikur, who had birdies on the first and eighth, turned in two-under and then exploded on the back nine with five birdies in the last seven holes.

“I love the Delhi Golf Club course and I have always enjoyed playing here with some good results including a win. So, it was a wonderful day. I’m hitting really well and at the same time I am putting well,” he said.

“I have been working on my technique, my fitness, my mental training. At the new course, the layout is the same but the all greens are a little different. But I think I like these greens more than before.” Rashid, who started on the 10th and had nine pars to begin, said, “It wasn’t great, the way I started the round. I have been working on some things.” “I had a back injury around November and after that I lost my touch so I was really scared to hit shots because of my back. I had to change my swing a little and it was all handy. Right now also, it’s there but I’m working on something which I really wanted and Ashok Kumar (another Indian pro) showed me the path.” On his second nine, he had five birdies. Talking about his tentativeness over last few months, Rashid added, “I was in that situation in the first nine holes, but I managed it very well. On the back nine, I had a good birdie on the first and then finishing with the last three birdies was great. You know that gives you confidence and that’s what I needed.” Nitithorn said, “I struggled a bit on my approach shot midway through the round, but I managed.” “Yeah, I’m looking for my title defence but just don’t want to push myself so much. Like last year, I just want to play 66 every day. That’s my strategy. The conditions are very nice out there.” Four players, including Indian amateur Yuvraj Singh, were tied for 11th at 3-under.

Overall, 40 players shot under par scores and another 16 players, including SSP Chawrasia, who has won three Asian Tour titles at the DGC, shot even par 72 each to be tied 41st.

Source: PTI News


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