Lahiri fired up for Macao title defence

Tue 13 Oct 2015

Lahiri fired up for Macao title defence

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Macao, October 13: Indian star Anirban Lahiri is aiming to successfully defend his Venetian Macao Open title starting on Thursday, saying he has overcome his Presidents Cup heartbreak.
Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India
Lahiri, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, declared he is ready to launch a final push to become the region’s new number one beginning with this week’s US$1 million event which has attracted a stellar field.
It includes four-time Major winner Ernie Els, 2013 champion Scott Hend, Chinese stars Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei and eight of the current top-10 players from the Merit list.
“It was a disappointing result but it was certainly not a disappointment,” reflected Lahiri, who missed a three-foot birdie putt for a half point that could have altered the end result of the Presidents Cup.
“What we witnessed last week is exactly the nature of the sport. What I experienced was what Scott (Hend) had experienced here last year. We both hit good putts and it didn’ go in. Sometimes you’re on the receiving end. You take it in your stride and take whatever you need to do to get better.”
From left : Ernie Els of South Africa and Zhang Lian-wei of China From left : Ernie Els of South Africa and Zhang Lian-wei of China
Lahiri revealed he slept easily on Sunday night knowing he had stuck to his process and routine before hitting his putt. The United States beat the Internationals by one point.
“Obviously, you reflect on it. I thought to myself ‘what did I do wrong’ and I couldn’t come up with an answer. If you can’t come up with an answer, you can sleep peacefully and I did,” said the world number 39.
“I followed my process, I was focused and I tried my heart out. I hit the shots exactly how I saw it, even with the last putt. There’s nothing I regret but I feel bad about it as the team had worked hard.”
After winning the Venetian Macao Open some 12 months ago, the 28-year-old Lahiri went on to win in Malaysia and India in February and has since enjoyed a magical season which included a top-five finish at the PGA Championship and earning a card on the PGA Tour.
Liang Wen-chong of China Liang Wen-chong of China
His goal now is to wrap up the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit title and join compatriots Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa as the only Indian golfers to have won the Merit list.
“It all started from here last year. It’s nice to go a full circle. I know what it feels like to defend. Now, I feel the game is coming to where it should be. I enjoy playing on this course and in the last few years, I’ve managed to find a really good rhythm here. I played nine holes this morning, and I really felt comfortable. I didn’t feel like I was coming back after a year. It felt like just yesterday, which is a good sign for me,” said Lahiri.
“This is the beginning of an important stretch, not just prize money but also for a lot of world rankings. There are guys who can make a serious move up on the Order of Merit. This is when you want to get on a roll and start playing your best hopefully.”
From left : Anirban Lahiri and Ernie Els of South Africa From left : Anirban Lahiri and Ernie Els of South Africa
A refreshed Els is hoping to make it third time luck at the Venetian Macao Open. He finished third in his first visit here two years but is eyeing a victory to salvage a disappointing season.
“I didn’t get into Presidents Cup, no top-10s, no nothing,” said Els, who returned to competitive golf in Scotland two weeks ago after taking a month-long break. “It’s been a tough year on the golf course and I think my focus wasn’t there totally.
“I feel good, feel really fresh and I look forward to get something going. I took a long break and just chilled. I believe good things will happen, just want to get the freshness and the hunger back,” added the South African, who is an Honorary Member and International Ambassador of the Asian Tour.
Big-hitting Hend, who won in Macao two years ago, was delighted to return to Asia after spending much of his time in Europe this season.
Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia
“Good to be eating the spicy food again instead of the usual pasta and pizzas,” said Hend. “The course is always fantastic. It’s been very good to me. Last year was amazing winning in Hong Kong and then Anirban beat me here at the post and he’s gone on the up and up from there on.”
Zhang, the only two-time winner of the tournament, said it is fantastic the Venetian Macao Open is now offering a record prize fund of US$1 million. “The players are grateful as this gives us the incentive to play. I’m 50 years old now and I’m still looking forward to compete as I love the game of golf,” said Zhang.
Since its inauguration in 1998, many other world class golfers have graced the fairways of Macau Golf & Country Club, including Lee Westwood (winner in 1999), Colin Montgomerie (winner in 2003), Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Mark O’Meara .
The Venetian Macao Open is organised by the Macao Sport Development Board of Macao SAR Government and the Golf Association of Macau. Sanctioned by the latter and the Asian Tour, The Venetian® Macao is supporting the iconic event as title sponsor for the fourth successive year.
For more details on the Venetian Macao Open, please visit: www.thevenetianmacaoopen.com.
About Macao Sport Development Board of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government
Macao Sport Development Board, under the capacity of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, is a public organization of administration autonomy. The organization is responsible for the implementation of sport strategy and policy formulated by the Macao SAR Government. Its objective is to stimulate, encourage, and promote all kind of sports in Macao, also to create an essential condition for sport development.
For the development of competitive sports and ‘Sport for all’, the Macao Sport Development Board organizes various high level international sport competitions as well as recreational classes and thematic ‘Sport for all’ activities each year, in an endeavor to promote the international status of Macao, reinforce communication and co-operation with other countries and cites, enhance citizens’ quality of life and arouse their interest in sport, so as to accelerate and facilitate the enhancement of the level of sport in Macao.
For more information, please visit www.sport.gov.mo
About Golf Association of Macau
Founded in 2000, the Golf Association of Macao is a non-profit organization, with the mission to promote, support and ensure the quality, traditions and development of the game of golf in Macao.
With the mission to encourage and promote golf in Macao, it provides coaching, training and selection of the Macao teams for participation in international events at all levels, and promotes and runs appropriate international and domestic golfing events in Macao, which helps to represent Macao in the golfing world and be a member of appropriate regional and world governing bodies.
About The Venetian® Macao
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; TAIVEXMALO Day Hospital & Spa; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 350 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
For more information, please visit www.venetianmacao.com.
About Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao – Sands China’s Integrated Resort City
Sands China Ltd. is the leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Macao. The befittingly named Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao has transformed a day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.
Pulsating with life, both night and day, Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with approximately 9,000 hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with more than 650 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, 1.5 million square feet (120,000 square metres) of meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, transportation offerings and well over 120 dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants, bars and lounges. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is a must-go destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.
Comprised of The Venetian® Macao; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn hotels Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach. And coming in 2016... the crowning achievement of Sheldon G. Adelson’s vision of the Cotai Strip… The Parisian Macao.
Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao… Be at the Centre of It All! For more information, please visit http://en.sandsresortsmacao.com.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiangolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour, and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 25 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages thousands of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment agency, to form WME | IMG.