Dhaka, Bangladesh: For the second time in three years, Mohd Rasel edged international team-mate Mohd Akber Hossain after another enthralling duel in the third edition of the Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship.
In 2014, Rasel wrote his name into the record books when he prevailed against Hossain at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off to take top spot in the inaugural Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship.
Last year, however, it was Hossain who savoured success at Kurmitola Golf Club in the 54-hole tournament that is included on the World Amateur Golf Ranking schedule and is considered the most prestigious event on Bangladesh’s amateur golfing calendar.
But it was scratch-handicapper Rasel who reasserted his authority in what was the 13th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Not that victory came easily. Far from it, with Hossain holding a two-stroke lead with just eight holes remaining.
With the winning line in sight, though, Hossain started to feel the strain. He made bogeys at 13 and 14 to allow Rasel to draw level at the top of the leaderboard in what had long become a two-horse race.
Sensing his opportunity, Rasel then turned up the heat with a crucial birdie-three at the 422-yard 15th, rated the second most difficult hole on the course. That meant he had restored the one-stroke advantage he enjoyed at the start of the final round.
When Hossain dropped another shot at the par-three 16th to fall two behind there was no way back.
Rasel signed for a closing one-over-par 73 and a 54-hole total of even-par 216 – two ahead of Hossain and nine in front of Mohd Abdul Kader and Mohd Sumon, joint third overall.
Thanks to his triumph, Rasel has qualified for the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand, to be hosted by Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
Joining him there will be fellow age group winners Mohammad Shamim (Boys’ Under-18), Mohd Abdul Kader (Boys’ Under-16) and Liza Akhter (Girls’ Under-21).
Six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “To have almost 90 players in the starting field is testament to the efforts of the Bangladesh Golf Federation.
“Introducing the Faldo Series to new countries and creating access to the sport for a younger audience through grass-roots initiatives at our tournaments remains central to our ambitions.
“That’s why I was so thrilled we were able to add Bangladesh to our schedule and why I’m so delighted to see the event flourishing.”
Tournament referee Major (Retired) Mahmudur Rahman Chowdhury, one of the driving forces behind the setting up of the Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship, said: “I salute Sir Nick Faldo and his trust for their outstanding work in spreading golf around the world and bringing so many young boys and girls on board.
“Today (thanks to the Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship) there are more than 100 young golfers from 12 golf clubs in Bangladesh who are dreaming of becoming top-class golfers in the world.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
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