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Short on stature but standing up to tall challenge

other Updated: Jan 13, 2011 23:16 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
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From the time he started as a ball boy at Dhaka's Kurmitola Golf Club, a move necessitated by the desire to acquire basic education, to that fateful day in December 2008 when he was anointed as the club's honorary member, Siddikur Rahman sustained himself with the belief that “his time would come”.

Witnessing the high of January 2009, when he became the first from Bangladesh to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour, to the blow of losing his card later in the season, the faith has been tested on numerous occasions, but the diminutive player has not swayed. It was perhaps a reward of the steadfastness that a country exemption came his way last year and there's been no looking back since then.

“A lot of hard work had gone in but what was missing was the impetus,” reminisces the 26-year-old. The missing piece fell in place in June at Thailand. Despite fading away on the final day of the Queen's Cup, after being in contention to finish T8, he came away with confidence as an addition to his arsenal. “I understood that I had the wherewithal to stand up against the big names,” he said after finishing in sole lead with a 67 on Day I of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

The realisation meant he's only got better. Winning at the Brunei Open in August for his maiden win on the Asian Tour and picking up two more top-10s, including a T5 at the Hero Honda Indian Open which placed him seventh on the Order of Merit, Siddikur has descended at the Kensville Golf & Country Club with an objective in mind. Unlike several of the Indian pros, who are eying the euro 32,000 top prize merely to up their earnings, Siddikur is considering the accompaniment --- the opportunity to play on the European Challenge Tour, seriously.

“I want to move on,” he said. After making a mark on the Professional Golf Tour of India and Asia, the European Tour is the next stop. A top-20 finish on the Challenge Tour will fulfil the desire and Siddikur took the first step towards the goal by returning a bogey-free card on Thursday. “It was a culmination of several factors like sound hitting, putting and the weather, and I intend to keep the rhythm going,” he said. A stroke adrift of second-placed Ricardo Santos of Portugal, Austrian Florian Praegant and England's Daniel Denison was Gaganjeet Bhullar with a 70. The best-placed Indian at joint fifth, Bhullar's day was spent coping with a new putter. “I'm playing with it for the first time in a tournament.”