Asian Development Tour kicks off in Bangladesh

Hossain Sohel Shakhawat of Bangladesh

Hossain Sohel Shakhawat of Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh – Local prospect Hossain Sohel Shakhawat hopes this week’s Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters will provide a springboard for his career as he vies to emulate the success of countryman Rahman Siddikur.

Shakhawat, a former Bangladesh national team captain, tees it up Thursday at the season-opening Asian Development Tour event at Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka.

It’s a coming home of sorts for the 23-year-old. Shakhawat worked at Kurmitola as a caddie before joining the national team.

Coincidentally, Shakhawat and his compatriots won the gold medal at the 11th South Asian Games on the same course last February.

But he’s here to make amends after he finished outside the top 40 at Asian Tour Q-School last month, forcing him to make a go on the secondary circuit.

He is joined in Dhaka by Siddikur, who is the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour. Siddikur is mostly here for a ceremonial role, considering this is the first time the Asian Development Tour has held a tournament in his homeland.

“Siddikur has done a lot for golf in the country, and I feel that it is my time to do something for Bangladesh,” said Shakhawat, who turned pro in December. “I don’t have much experience yet, but I’m going to take it as a learning curve.”

Stakes are high on the 5-event Asian Development Tour, which is in its second year, as the top three on the money list will earn playing rights for the 2012 Asian Tour season.

Siddikur said, “I believe the tournament will be good for the future generation. I think this is important to expose players in Bangladesh to more professional events.”

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