Siddikur Rahman, once a poor boy from Bangladesh, contending for 1st Euro Tour win

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Siddikur Rahman, once a poor boy from Bangladesh, contending for 1st Euro Tour win

Euro Tour

Siddikur Rahman, once a poor boy from Bangladesh, contending for 1st Euro Tour win

Not many would have bet on Siddikur Rahman’s name appearing near the top of the $2.35 million Porsche European Open leaderboard.

That won’t bother the 32-year-old Bangladeshi. He’s been overachieving his entire life.

Rahman is 8 under through 36 holes thanks to a second round 6-under 66. He’s one shot adrift of England’s Ashley Chesters, but three shots better than 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, five shots ahead of reigning PGA champion Jimmy Walker  and six shots better than U.S. Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed.

Rahman earned his place in the field by finishing 16th on last year’s Asian Tour money list with $190,389. He’s earned just over $93,000 this season and lies 17th. He has a chance over the next 36 holes to cash a check for $392,000 with his first European Tour win.

Those numbers seem insignificant among the huge sums in modern professional golf, but a fortune for a poor boy from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

Rahman didn’t start out in professional golf like many of today’s pampered professionals. No silver spoon for Rahman. More like no spoon.

Raman’s story begins near Kurmitola Golf Club in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. He grew up near the golf course, but didn’t come from the sort of social set who could afford membership.

Kurmitola, one of 15 courses in Bangladesh – five 18-hole and 10 nine-hole layouts – proved a lifeline for Rahman, and a way into golf.

Rahman worked as a forecaddie for eight years from the age of 9. He wasn’t paid a lot, but the money was important.

“I was paid 12 cents a round,” Rahman said. “Then I went to 30 cents. It was big money for a poor boy.”

Rahman supplemented his meagre income with money games against other caddies.

“We didn’t play on grass except once a week. We played mostly on soil. We would make small holes in the dirt and put sticks in for flags.”

Rahman only had one club for the first two years of his golfing life.

“Golf in Bangladesh was only for rich people. I wanted to play but couldn’t afford clubs. So I bought this old 7-iron head for about 50 cents. I got a metal pole. I took them to a welding shop and made my club. I used it for everything – long shots, chipping, pitching, putting, bunkers, high shots, low shots. It taught me to be creative.”

He also used his ingenuity to get a grip on his handmade 7-iron.

“I cut open the old Titleist balls, took out the rubber bands and wrapped them around the shaft for a grip.”

That hand-fashioned club allowed him to develop a swing good enough to be picked out of 100 kids for tuition. From there he graduated to the Bangladesh national amateur team.

“I practiced seriously and got on the national team in 1999. That’s when I felt I had a chance to play this game as maybe a career.”

Rahman turned professional in 2007 after 12 amateur wins in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. He’s racked up a number of professional wins in Asia, including two Asian Tour wins, the 2010 Brunei Open and 2013 Hero Indian Open.

He was the first Bangladeshi winner on the Asian circuit. He was also the first Bangladeshi to play in the World Cup of Golf and the first from his country to play golf in the Olympics.

Despite his success, he’s never forgotten his roots.

“I still remember those old days as a caddie,” he admitted. “Every time I have success, I look back to those days and think how lucky I am.”

Two more good rounds and he’ll set another milestone for Bangladeshi golf by becoming the first from his country to win a European Tour event.

Not bad for a guy who began his golf career with just an old 7-iron head.

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