Tour rookie Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand stole the limelight after carding his personal-best round of a nine-under-par 62 to storm to the top of the leaderboard, seizing the halfway lead at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Thai, who came through the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School last December, fired an eagle and eight birdies against a bogey to grab a three-shot lead with his 15-under-par 127 total at the highly-rated Kurmitola Golf Club.
Sadom’s commendable round saw him set the lowest 18-hole and 36-hole scores in the national Open of Bangladesh. His three-shot advantage is also the largest halfway lead recorded in the tournament, which is celebrating its fifth edition on the Asian Tour this week.
“My goal today was just to shoot under-par … I didn’t expect to play so well,” Kaewkanjana said.
“I am really happy. My putting is very good. I got off to a solid start. I had a great run from the 12th hole. I was just hitting fairways and greens and then making putts. It felt great.”
In-form Rashid Khan of India returned with a bogey-free 64 in the afternoon to grab second place on his own while overnight leader Maverick Antcliff of Queensland slipped six shots off the pace to third following a battling 70 at the US$350,000 Asian Tour event.
RIGHT: Antcliff trails by six shots with two rounds to play at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open. PHOTO: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
“It was alright … I was hitting it nicely at the start, just got into a bit of trouble on the 17th and 18th holes,” Antcliff said.
“A couple of three-putts there but played really nicely on the 5th and 6th. Unfortunately, three-putted from 12 feet to bogey the 8th hole coming in but overall, it was still pretty solid.”
Local hero Siddikur Rahman emerged as the highest-placed Bangladeshi on the leaderboard after posting a 68 to share fourth place with Japan’s Mikumu Horikawa (67) and Viraj Madappa of India (66) on matching 134s.
Starting from the 10th, Sadom reeled in two straight pars before a birdie on the 12th sparked a hot streak which saw him go five-under in the next four holes. He dropped a shot on the 17th hole but would gain it back swiftly with a birdie on the 18th to turn in 30.
Sadom went on to add three more birdies on his back nine to cap a superb round, which saw him navigate his way around the greens in only 24 putts, including a 13-footer for eagle on the par-five 14th hole.
A total of 70 players, including a record number of 12 local professionals, survived the halfway cut set at one-over-par 143.