Lahiri overcomes pain barrier to lead

Fri 06 Sep 2013

Lahiri overcomes pain barrier to lead

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Crans Montana, Switzerland, September 5: India’s Anirban Lahiri set the stage alight when he opened with an eight-under-par 63 to take the first round lead at the Omega European Masters on Thursday.
England’s Paul Casey birdied his closing 18th to make it a three-way tie for second place with compatriot Tommy Fleetwood and 2010 Omega European Masters winner Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain on matching 65s at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who is seeking to win his second Omega European Masters title following his victory in 2011, signed for a 66 to take fifth place at the €2.1 million, approximately US$2.8 million showpiece event in Crans Montana.
Lahiri, who is still nursing a twisted knee, showed he can still play through the pain barrier with a commanding round that was highlighted by a pair of eagles, five birdies on a bogey.
“I had a really a bad fall and twisted my right knee about four weeks ago. I’ve a history with my knee as I tore my ACL when I was 15 so it was tough,” said Lahiri.
“I didn’t hit balls for 15 days. Monday was probably my fourth round in a month. I came in with no expectations and just wanted to enjoy my golf and that’s probably what’s happening out there today,” added the Indian.
Lahiri took a share of the first round clubhouse lead last year but missed the cut after enduring a torrid time dealing with the weather conditions on the second day.
With a wealth of experience under his belt since his last outing at the majestic Swiss Alps, Lahiri is confident that he will not suffer the same fate this year.
“It’s nice to be back with a bang. It was a tough pill to swallow last year but I’ve learnt a lot from that. The weather was so much colder and it was a big adjustment for me. It was a harsh lesson but lesson for life nevertheless,” said Lahiri.
Casey meanwhile remained firmly in contention at the Omega European Masters and is looking forward to returning to the winner’s circle again following his 12th European Tour victory in Ireland in June.
“This really is heaven on earth up here. I’ve played here in some shocking conditions and it can test you at the best of times, but the weather we have had this week is superb. It is a wonderful place and to play great golf in front of wonderful crowds is a joy,” said Casey, a former world number three.
Jimenez, who is making his 25th consecutive appearance at the Omega European Masters, is back to his best form since returning to action after suffering a broken leg in a skiing accident last Christmas.
The 49 year old Spaniard won the title in 2010 and has a total of 10 top-10 finishes since he made his debut at the Omega European Masters.
The Spaniard is confident he will continue to be a force to reckon with after signing for a 65.
“It is a very nice start. I played very well today and I can play this course with my eyes closed!” said the flamboyant Spaniard.
The Omega European Masters is the only tournament on European soil to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour and marks the start of the second half of the Asian Tour season.
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Subway Restaurants (Official Quick Service Restaurant)  and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf