sábado, 11 de marzo de 2023

ASIAN TOUR NEWS: Siddikur, Chikkarangappa, Murray and Jazz lead the charge to Black Mountain’s summit



Siddikur Rahman shot one of the lowest rounds of his 18-year professional career today, an eight-under-par 64, to share the third-round lead at the International Series Thailand with India’s Chikkarangappa S, Zach Murray from Australia and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond.


Chikkarangappa carded 67, Murray 68 and Jazz 69 at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.


They lead the Asian Tour event on 15 under by one shot from  Koreans Yongjun Bae (65), Mingyu Cho (66), and Jaewoong Eom (68), Micah Lauren Shin (67) from the United States, and Japan’s Yosuke Asaji (68).


Overnight leader Dodge Kemmer from the United States slipped back with 74 and is 12 under.


With 28 players within three shots of the lead the tournament is wide open and the stage set for a gripping final day, in what is the third International Series event of the season.



Bangladesh’s golfing idol Siddikur looked like he was going to shoot an even lower round as six birdies on the front saw him turn in six-under-par 30 and when birdies followed on 12, 13 and 15 the course record of 62, set by American Sihwan Kim last year, looked within reach.


However, the 38 year old, whose nickname is ‘the Tiger of Dhaka’, made his only bogey of the day on 17.


“It was a wonderful day, I was so sound,” said Siddikur.


“My hitting was excellent and at the same time my putting was too good. So, all over it was a wonderful round for me, nine birdies and one bogey, the last two holes a little bit unlucky, but, again, I'm happy for today.”


Siddikur is one of the shortest hitters on Tour, not suited to Black Mountain, which favours the long ball players, but the Bangladeshi countered that with a brilliant short stick display.

He said: “I especially enjoyed my putting today because the first two days I couldn't putt that good. The first day my hitting was excellent, but I couldn't putt honestly. But today, yeah, no complaints on the putting and my hitting was excellent too.”


Siddikur is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour but the most recent of those is the 2013 Hero Indian Open. He has been relatively subdued over the past four years but showed glimpses of his former self by finishing tied third in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and joint fourth in the Bangladesh Open last year.


Chikkarangappa, looking for his first win on the Asian Tour, had a chance to hold the outright lead but made bogey on the par-five 18th but that didn’t stop him from enjoying the day.


“I've been playing well, you know I had a great season at the end [of 2022] where I made my card on the Asian Tour, and I had a Tour championship back in my local tour PGTI, and I managed to win that,” said the Indian.


“So that kind of gave me a lot of confidence. And I've been in good form, feeling good about the game. And I went back to my coach and Anirban [Lahiri], so we spent a lot of time there for about 20 days. We did a lot of good quality practice and that kind of has given me good confidence, and yeah, I'm feeling good about it.


Jazz didn’t produce his best today and also missed a chance to take the lead on his own after failing to hole a 16-foot birdie putt on 18, but he is well placed heading into Sunday.


“Just slow today, nothing really went for me but hung in there, gave myself a good position to go in and play good in the last round,” said the 2019 Asian Tour number one.

“I mean golf is golf right, if the ball goes in you play good. You just have to go out there and do the same thing and hope the ball goes in.”


With Black Mountain being his home course he desperately wants to secure his first win here tomorrow.


He said: “I just want to do one for the members you know, I've been here with them since I was 15, so it would be nice to do something nice for the club here. But if not, it's okay, they still can’t fire me, they can’t kick me out.”


Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, two off the lead at the start of the day, had a surprisingly poor start going out in two over, he battled back making four birdies in a row from the 13th but carded a 71 and is two behind the leaders.

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