28 February, 2013 Chonburi, Thailand: Siddikur is on track to make history after sharing the first round lead with Japanese amateur Hideki Matsuyama on six-under-par at The Open Championship International Final Qualifying – Asia on Thursday.
The Bangladeshi could become the first player to represent his country in golf’s oldest Major Championship after carding seven birdies and one bogey on his way to an opening 66. The two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion Matsuyama, who was the first Japanese amateur to play in the Masters Tournament in 2011, matched him after a round featuring eight birdies and two bogeys.
China’s Mu Hu, Australian Scott Barr and Singaporeans Quincy Quek and Zhiqun Lam were a further shot back in the two-day qualifier where the top four players qualify for the year’s third Major at Muirfield from 14-21 July.
Siddkur got off to an excellent start and was five-under-par after six holes. He said: “I’m very happy. I played very well in the beginning. I got seven birdies with one bogey so I’m really happy with the round. I’m very confident and my game is good. If I can play my game, I’m quite confident I’ll be able to qualify for The Open Championship.”
Matsuyama, who is ranked fifth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, hopes to make amends for last year’s heartbreak when he dropped six shots in the last three holes to miss the play-off for the fourth and final place in The Open Championship by two shots.
“I’ve forgotten about that and have already moved on. I’m looking forward to the last day and if I can keep playing as I did, then I’ll be able to earn a place in The Open Championship,” said Matsuyama.
Singapore’s Quek, who is aiming to become the third Singaporean after Mardan Mamat and Lam Chih Bing to play in The Open Championship, was in the lead for 17 holes but he hit his tee shot into the water on the ninth hole for a double bogey.
“I’m happy to be on five-under with a double bogey! In two-day events, you have to make as many birdies as you can. I guess my focus tomorrow is to enjoy the round and put in a low number,” said the 26-year-old.
Australian Barr mixed his round with eight birdies and one eagle against a double bogey and three bogeys as he plots a return to The Open Championship where he made his debut at Royal Troon in 2004.
“I started to hit the ball pretty well at the start and putted pretty good. I just made a couple of soft mistakes. This is a golf course where you can get in big trouble without making many mistakes. Overall I’m happy but I hope to hold it together,” said Barr.
Scotland’s James Byrne and England’s Stephen Lewton stayed in touch with the leaders after two under par rounds of 70 but Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion Guan Tianlang struggled to a one-over-par 73.
Scores after round 1 of the IFQ Asia 2013 being played at the par 72, 7419 Yards Amata Spring CC course (a- denotes amateur):
66 – SIDDIKUR (BAN), Hideki MATSUYAMA (am, JPN).
67 – HU Mu (CHN), Quincy QUEK (SIN), LAM Zhiqun (SIN), Scott BARR (AUS).
68 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), Anthony KANG (USA), Berry HENSON (USA), KIM Hyung-sung (KOR), PAN Cheng-tsung (am, TPE), WU Ashun (CHN), Rory HIE (INA), Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA).
69 – Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Scott HEND (AUS), Hiroshi IWATA (JPN), Yuta IKEDA (JPN).
70 – Stephen LEWTON (ENG), Nils FLOREN (SWE), Kwanchai TANNIN (THA), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), James BYRNE (SCO), Jaakko MAKITALO (FIN).
71 – Darren BECK (AUS), PARK Ju-hyuk (KOR), JOO Heung-chol (KOR), Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA), LAM Chih Bing (SIN), Niall TURNER (IRL), Daisuke MARUYAMA (JPN), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Tomohiro KONDO (JPN), Javi COLOMO (ESP).
72 – Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN), Miguel TABUENA (PHI), BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), Jonathan MOORE (USA), Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA), Ben FOX (USA), Grant JACKSON (ENG), Yosuke ASAJI (JPN).
For the draw and full hole-by-hole scores from IFQ Asia visit TheOpen.com.