Bangladesh's premier golfer Siddikur Rahman stayed in contention for his third Asian Tour title as he retained the top spot in the Panasonic Open India at the end of the third day yesterday.
The two-time winner, who has not won in the continent's premier tour for the last five years, exchanged four birdies for two bogeys yesterday at his favourite golf course, where he had won his second tour title.
However, having racked up 67 and 66 in the opening two rounds, Siddikur was a bit sedate yesterday as he managed a 70 only, however, the two other players in the leading flight also failed to match their performances from the previous rounds.
Siddikur though, stayed at the top with an aggregate of 13-under-par (203), and was joined there by a red-hot Khalin Joshi, who fired nine birdies against a single bogey at his home course. A stroke behind was another Indian, Ajitesh Sandhu, while a further stroke back was overnight leader Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand.
Siddikur got off to a fast start with three straight birdies before dropping two bogeys on the fourth and ninth hole to turn in 35. He regained a shot on the 11th hole to remain one shot ahead of the chasing pack before Joshi joined him with a flurry of birdies.
After having endured a wretched run of form, the Bangladeshi golfer looks like he is hitting his best form in Delhi and he would desperately want to end as a winner here, not only to break his long draught but also to salvage his Asian Tour fortune. Placed 97th on the money list, Siddikur needs a strong showing to boost his rankings and hopefully break into the top-60 by the end of the season to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019.
However, the 33-year-old did not let those emotions surface when he talked to Asiantour.com after the day's play. “One more day to enjoy out there so I am really looking forward to it. It's good that I played in the leader group today. It's been some time since I last played in the leader group. I think I have overcome the nerves today already so I should be fine for tomorrow,” Siddikur said.
Having come close to winning on many occasions at this very golf course but managing to cash in on only one of those previously, Siddikur is not putting himself under the undue weight of expectation. He was relaxed as he said, “There won't be anything exceptional tomorrow. Everything will be the same. I will head back to the hotel later, freshen up, get a good sleep tonight and come back tomorrow!”