Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Siddikur motors ahead at SAIL Open in New Delhi

AFP, NEW DELHI

Bangladesh’s Siddikur opened up a two-shot lead at the top of the SAIL Open leaderboard with a five-under-par 67 in the third round yesterday.

The 26-year-old’s metronomic consistency — he has shot two 67s and a 68 so far this week at Delhi Golf Club — put him on 202 in the US$300,000 event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI. Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, one of Siddikur’s co-leaders after two rounds, slipped back with a 69 to lie joint second on 204 with India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu, who posted a 68.

Manav Jaini of India made the biggest move up the table when he returned with an eight-under-par 64 to join Japanese Akinori Tani (70) on 205 in tied fourth place.

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, birdied the fifth before sinking an eagle three on the eighth hole from 12 feet.

He went on to mix his card with four more birdies against two bogeys to put himself in pole position for a second Asian Tour win.

“It was a great day and I’m happy with how I finished,” he said. “I’ve been hitting it really good this week and I need to maintain that on the last day if I want to win my second Asian Tour title.”

“I’m not surprised by my consistent play. I’ve been practicing a lot and it is paying off,” he said.

Siddikur has been in fine form since winning the Brunei Open last season, finishing second at last year’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters and taking fifth at the Hero Honda Indian Open, also held at the challenging Delhi Golf Club.

Kiradech, who has yet to record an Asian Tour victory despite being in contention four times last year, believed he was still in with a chance of his maiden win.

“Apart from a few bad holes, I felt I played good golf. I sank a lot of putts. I still have a chance of winning if I can improve on my iron play,” he said.

Little-known Sandhu, 22 — one of seven Indian golfers in the top 11 at the tournament — is hoping to make amends after missing the cut at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year.

Teen sensation Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines battled to a 71 to lie in tied 15th place on a 212 total. The 16-year-old is playing in his first Asian Tour event after turning professional last week.

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