Ahead of his 29th birthday, Mohammad Siddikur gave himself the best birthday gift ever by winning the 50th edition of the $1.25 million Hero Indian Open golf tournament. He was lucky that his old habit of shooting over-par scores on Sundays did not spoil his party at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) this week.

The Bangladeshi golfer carded a three-over 75, yet managed a total of 274 to pip two long-time Indian friends, Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chowrasia, by one stroke and take the winner’s purse of $ 225,000.

This was Siddikur’s second Asian Tour title after his Brunei Open victory in 2010. This win promoted him from ninth to third on the Order of Merit.

Despite their up-and-down performances throughout the day, both Lahiri and Chowrasia remained in contention before faltering on the last hole. Lahiri carded a two-under 70, while Chowrasia an even par score as the two ended up at the tied-second spot with an identical aggregate of 275.

Siddikur found the going smooth until he dropped a shot on the sixth hole. He erred again to have three successive bogeys from 9th to 11th before regaining two strokes on 13th and 14th. A silly mistake on 15th, where he chose a provisional shot and found the bushes, resulted in a triple bogey and another bogey on 16th produced a four-way tie at the peak.

Siddikur showed his resilience to play a fantastic tee-shot and a 15-foot birdie putt to regain his sole lead on the penultimate hole and held his nerve to par the 18th for the title.

In a thrilling climax, Chowrasia helped Siddikur’s cause by missing a four-foot birdie putt on the final hole and thereby lost the chance of going into the playoff.

Lahiri’s challenge too fizzled out as he made an error in selecting the club for a 45-foot shot in the closing stages of his round.

“I knew Lahiri and Chowrasia would not play safe. So, I continued to play aggressively. But I did not take any pressure,” said Siddikur.

“This is the best week of my life…I have lot of fans (from Bangladesh) on Facebook and I receive mails,” said Siddikur, who is known as the ‘Tiger Woods of Bangladesh.’

Chiragh Kumar and Rashid Khan earned their Asian Tour cards following their strong finishes.

The scores (Indians unless specified):

Mohammad Siddikur (66, 66, 67, 75) 274; Anirban Lahiri (71, 67, 67, 70) and S.S.P. Chowrasia (69, 68, 66, 72) 275; Seuk-Hyun Baek (Kor) (69, 69, 70, 68), Ciragh Kumar (69, 70, 69, 68), Angelo Que (Phi) (69, 68, 67, 72) and Rashid Khan (69, 70, 65, 72) 276; Unho Park (Aus) (68, 73, 65, 71) 277; Chapchai Nirat (Tha) (66, 68, 77, 67) and Mithun Perera (Sri) (70, 72, 68, 68) 278; Namchok Tantipokhakul (Tha) (73, 70, 69, 67) and Sanjay Kumar (70, 68, 72, 69) 279; Shiv Kapur (75, 66, 71, 68), Mardan Mamat (Sin) (66, 73, 72, 69), Antonio Lascuna (Phi) (71, 70, 68, 71) and Adam Groom (Aus) (69, 67, 70, 74) 280; Scott Barr (Aus) (71, 70, 69, 71) and Rahil Gangjee (66, 69, 73, 73) 281.

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