Sunday, November 10, 2013


New Delhi, November 10: Bangladeshi Siddikur claimed a nerve-wracking one-stroke victory over local hopes S.S.P. Chowrasia and Anirban Lahiri at the 50th Hero Indian Open on Sunday for his second career title on the Asian Tour.
Leading by four overnight, the tenacious Siddikur made life difficult for himself with a wobbly final round of three-over-par 75 at the Delhi Golf Club which allowed the chasing pack to breathe down his neck and apply the pressure.
Chowrasia, who has won twice previously at the fabled Delhi venue, agonisingly missed a five-foot birdie chance on the 72nd hole to force a play-off as Siddikur ended a three-year winless run following his career breakthrough at the 2010 Brunei Open.
Lahiri, who closed with a 70, shared second place with Chowrasia in the US$1.25 million tournament as he also rued a missed birdie chance on the last hole to force extra time in front of a large gallery, who were hoping to celebrate an Indian champion in the golden edition of the Hero Indian Open.
A sensational eagle from about 30 feet on the last hole earned young Indian Rashid Khan a share of fourth place with countryman Chiragh Kumar, Filipino Angelo Que and Baek Seuk-hyun of South Korea, who all ended the tournament two shots behind the champion.
Siddikur, who led the Hero Indian Open from the opening round after what he termed as “playing the best golf of my life”, started strongly with birdies on the second and fifth holes but four bogeys over a six-hole stretch around the turn opened the door for his rivals to get close to him.
He steadied the ship with birdies on 13 and 14 but a calamitous triple bogey seven on 15 and another bogey on 16 ensured a dramatic and nervy finish. But on the par three 17th, Sididikur nailed what would be the most important birdie of his tournament from 15 feet to regain a one-shot advantage as his rivals eventually missed opportunities to force a play-off.
Siddikur, who earned US$225,000 said: “I am so happy. After I won in Brunei, I struggled to win a tournament. It was a long day for me but it’s been the best golf of my life this week. Honestly, I didn’t put pressure on myself but I had some bad shots for bogeys but I had a good feeling that I would win this tournament. The putt on 17 was certainly the winning putt.”
“I had a four-shot lead but on this golf course, I knew that Anirban (Lahiri) and S.S.P. Chowrasia will not play it safe. They could have shot a low score. In that case, I didn’t play safe and continued playing aggressively.
“After winning Brunei in (2010) I was really hungry to win more tournaments but it didn’t happen. However, I still remained confident and I told myself that a big victory is coming my way. That big victory happened today,” smiled Siddikur.
Chowrasia, who was chasing a third Asian Tour victory, signed off with a 72 which included four birdies against as many bogeys but lamented his missed opportunity on the last green when he pushed his putt past the hole to the despair of the home fans.
“I was not consistent. I was not playing good and made a lot of small mistakes. I had problems reading the lines.  But the last three days I have putted well. I needed to make an important birdie putt on 18th hole but it didn’t happen. May be next time,” said Chowrasia.
Lahiri was in the thick of battle as he pursued his fourth Asian Tour title at the Delhi course, with three birdies around the turn pushing him into contention after starting the last day six shots behind Siddikur. But after dropping a shot on 12, the talented Indian failed to find another birdie to tie Siddikur.
“I am very proud of my Hero Indian Open record. I was third some time back and last year I was fifth and now second. On the Asian Tour I have won once and this is my third second place this year. I have been putting myself in contention and giving myself a chance. So, I must be doing something right,” said Lahiri. 
Par 288 (4x72) Yardager 6,983
274 SIDDIKUR  (BAN) 66-66-67-75.
275 Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-67-67-70, S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) 69-68-66-72.
276 BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 69-69-70-68, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 69-70-69-68, Angelo QUE (PHI) 69-68-67-72, Rashid KHAN (IND) 69-70-65-72.
277 Unho PARK (AUS) 68-73-65-71.
278 Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 66-68-77-67, Mithun PERERA (LKA) 70-72-68-68.
279 Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 73-70-69-67, Sanjay KUMAR (IND) 70-68-72-69.
280 Shiv KAPUR (IND) 75-66-71-68, Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 66-73-72-69, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 71-70-68-71, Adam GROOM (AUS) 69-67-70-74.
281 Scott BARR (AUS) 71-70-69-71, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 66-69-73-73.
282 Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 66-77-70-69, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 70-68-73-71, Shankar DAS (IND) 67-70-73-72, LEE Sung (SKOR) 70-70-70-72, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 72-70-68-72.
283 Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 74-71-70-68, Abhinav LOHAN (IND) 70-72-72-69.



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