Thursday, September 21, 2017

Myanmar’s men don’t make most of Bangladesh birdies

Consistency was the failing of Myanmar’s Zaw Moe and Ye Htet Aung at the US$300,000 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open yesterday as they both carded 2-under-par 69s to take a share of 23rd position after day one.

Japan’s Shunya Takeyasu delivered seven birdies early morning to take the lead with a 7-under-par 64. The 23-year-old Japanese, who just claimed his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory last week, continued his rich vein of form with the lead at the Kurmitola Golf Club.

He shares the lead with Soomin Lee of South Korea who finished runner-up at Kurmitola last year and arrives in 2016 off the back of a top-10 finish in Myanmar.

With a prize fund less than half that of the $750,000 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open last week, the quality of the field in Bangladesh is not to the level of that which was on display at Royal Mingalardon.

Zaw Moe – a one-time winner on the Asian Tour back at the 1997 Singapore Open – should have done better after a round that included six birdies interspersed with four bogeys.

The young Ye Htet Aung, playing on a special invite, could have also put up more of a challenge on the first day as his eagle at the 14th was wiped out by two bogeys also on the back nine. Birdies at the 2nd and 7th completed his card.

The local charge was led by two-time winner on the Asian Tour Siddikur Rahman. An up-and-down front nine with two birdies and two bogeys was followed by a more successful back-nine to emerge from the round with a three-under-par 68 to share 14th place.

Local prospects Md Jibon Ali and Md Abdul Matin also share 14th place with the Bangladeshi number one.

Takeyasu and Lee lead by one over Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who in turn leads by one over Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, with Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Shubhankar Sharma of India sharing fourth.

“I played solid today, especially my putting. I sank a long putt on the first hole and that was kind of the highlight for me today. This is a challenging golf course. The fairways are tight so you got to drive the ball really well and put the ball in good positions,” said Takeyasu to Tour media after the round.

Takeyasu secured his 2016 Asian Tour card with a top-40 finish at the Qualifying School last month and then secured his first professional win last week at the PGM UMW Championship in Malaysia.

Lee was thrilled to replicate the game in Bangladesh last year.

“I feel very excited out there. I had a good finish last year and I was very happy because it was my first year playing on the Asian Tour. It’s great to be back again. There are a lot of good memories,” said the 22-year-old Korean.

“I played with Mithun and Carlos [Pigem] and we had great fun out there. I was able to just play my own game. Everything was good for me today,” added Lee.

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