Siddikur survives nervous finish to win Indian Open
New Delhi – Bangladeshi Siddikur claimed a nerve-wracking one-stroke victory over local hopes S.S.P. Chowrasia and Anirban Lahiri at the 50th Indian Open golf tournament here Sunday for his second career title on the Asian Tour.
Leading by four overnight, Siddikur made life difficult for himself with a wobbly final round of three-over-par 75 at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) which allowed the chasing pack to breathe down his neck and apply the pressure.
Chowrasia, who has won twice at DGC, agonisingly missed a five-foot birdie 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 $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 event.
A sensational eagle from about 30 feet on the last hole earned Indian Rashid Khan a share of fourth place with countryman Chiragh Kumar, Filipino Angelo Que and Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea, who all ended two shots behind the champion.
Siddikur, who led 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.
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.
“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. 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,” said Siddikur, who earned $225,000.
“I had a four-shot lead but on this golf course, I knew that Anirban and 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.”
Chowrasia, who was chasing a third Asian Tour victory, signed off with a 72 which included four birdies against as many bogeys.
“I was not consistent. I was not playing good and made a lot of small mistakes. 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,” said Chowrasia.
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 (KOR) 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.