The Preview: Bangladesh Open – Golf Australia Magazine
This week is another shining example with the Bangladesh Open returning to the schedule after a three year, Covid induced hiatus.
The tournament has been part of the Asian Tour since 2015 though its history dates back a little further.
The Professional Golf Tour of India sanctioned the event from 2009-2012 before it fell off the calendar for three years.
Bangladesh has only officially existed as a nation since 1971 and this week’s host course, Kurmitola Golf Club, is considered the best of the 14 listed as members of the Bangladesh Golf Federation.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana claimed his maiden Tour victory at the 2019 tournament and will officially be defending the title this year after a three year Covid delay.
Since that dramatic win in 2019 – where a two shot swing on the 71st hole gave him the lead heading up the last – Kaewkanjana has established himself as one of the Tour’s most exciting prospects.
RIGHT: Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana signalled his promise with a win here the last time the tournament was played. PHOTO: Luke Walker/LIV Golf/Getty Images.
Winner of the Singapore Open earlier this year and a regular contender in the LIV feeder International Series events he will start the week as one of the favourites.
COURSE: The Kurmitola Golf Club is widely accepted as the best course in Bangladesh and has hosted this event each of the 10 times it has been played.
Given its remote location – in golfing terms – specific details of the course are hard to come by with ‘tree lined’ and ‘multiple water hazards’ the main features mentioned.
In terms of scoring the players have traditionally found the course to their liking with double digits under par required to win each year.
The club itself has existed since the mid 1950’s though moved to its present site in 1966 where the course was laid out by Frank Pennink.
Pennink is credited with designing several courses in Europe though was also active in Asia and Africa with the Tanjong Course at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club among his credits.
RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Local Sidikur Rahman will be the crowd favourite this week having started his career as a caddie at the club and going on to represent Bangladesh at the 2020 Olympics.
Rahman has won the tournament once – in 2010 when it was sanctioned by the PGTI – and has been runner-up three times including to Jazz Janewattananond in 2017.
Rahman is not without a chance this week though there are better credentialled players in the field, including the defending champion Sadom Kaewkanjana.
However, the Bangladesh Open has long been considered a tournament where up and coming players establish themselves and there are several in that camp.
Heading that list is amateur star Ratchanon Chantananuwat who has already won on the Asian Tour at the age of just 15.
Known as TK, Chantananuwat will like his chances this week in a field featuring lesser players than those he beat at the Asia Mixed Cup in April.
Also arriving in Bangladesh with an impressive amateur resume is rookie professional David Puig.
Puig made his professional debut on the LIV Golf Tour in September having played two events as an amateur.
His results there were less than he might have wanted (40th, 42nd and 39th) but his acceptance of an invite to play in Bangladesh is an encouraging sign for a young player eager to learn his craft.
While players like Puig and Chantananuwat will attract most of the headlines there is also a strong contingent of Bangladeshi players teeing up and it is possible this week’s winner may be an as yet all but unknown golfer.
72-HOLE RECORD: 263 (-21, Thitiphun Chuayprakong 2016)
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No Australian has won the event.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Kevin Yuan.
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 577 9.30pm – 1am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 577 9pm – 1am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 577 9pm – 1am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 577 8pm – 12am)
*AEDT, check local guides