Rd 4 #MMO What They Said

Sun 08 Feb 2015

Rd 4 #MMO What They Said


Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – Final Round 68 (-4), Total 272 (-16)

Q: Were you interested in the scoring out there?

A: I was just trying to focus on getting off to a good start. That was the key yesterday to a low round. There are a lot of birdie opportunities early in the round and then you have some more towards the end – it’s the middle part of the golf course that’s hard to navigate. Luckily for me I made some good putts early in the round and I knew that if I played consistently and put some pressure on, maybe I would have a chance on the back nine. As it turned out, that’s what happened.

Q: What was going through your head on the 18th?

A: Well the 17th was a big boost for me. I missed some good opportunities on 15 and 16, so it was a very important putt and the shot of the day for me. On 18 I knew that I needed to keep it simple, hit the fairway, hit the green. I hit two brilliant golf shots, and as I was standing there I had to wait a while before I hit my third shot. I asked my caddie whether Bernd was 15 or 16 under, then there was an announcement at the back of the green. It broke my thought a bit and I backed off. Basically I tried to hit it too hard and got little tight on the swing. It was an embarrassing shot for television. But then when I got to the green my caddie told me Bernd had bogeyed 17, and I hit a good shot to hit it close. It was the best bunker shot of the week.

Q: It’s been a big few months for you, getting back your European Tour card then winning your first European Tour title.

A: Right now it sounds too good to be true. I was at Q-School three months back. 2012 and 2013 were frustrating for me because I felt like I was playing well enough to be on the European Tour full-time, but I wasn’t. It was a very important step when I went to Q-School. I think the best thing that happened to me was not getting into the last two events on The European Tour. I sat at home for two weeks knowing that the desert events are really good events played on great golf courses with lots of world ranking points. I sat at home thinking I should be out there competing. I think that put the fire in me and I just wanted to come out and take my opportunity. I said whatever I get I’m going to take, because I don’t want to be in this situation again. That was my attitude – just go out there and do whatever you have to. In hind sight it sounds very nice, but that’s how it turned out and I’m very happy.

Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India

Q: How did meditation help you today?

A: A lot. I was taking lots of deep breaths – not just because of the situation but because of the hills as well. I was just trying to keep my heart rate in check. I’ve played enough being in contention to know that if I can control my heart rate, it’s easier to hit golf shots, so I do a lot of deep breathing and closing my eyes. You don’t really meditate but just observe what’s going on, what are you feeling, without judging yourself or thinking about an outcome. That obviously helps because it allows you to do instead of think. 

Q: What are your plans?

A: It’s a little premature for me to take out my book and say my plans. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to see where I stand in the world rankings, and I’ll have a long chat with my manager to try to figure out how best to schedule the coming months. Now playing in the Masters is a realistic goal, so that’s definitely one of the things I’ll consider. There’ll be a lot of thinking, but I will definitely be back in Asia playing a few events here. I love playing the Asian Tour and I’ll continue to support it.

Q: Were you trying to make that putt on 17?

A: No. I’d just missed two good opportunities. I’d completely mis-read the line on the putt on 15 and my caddie advised me of the right line. Then on 16 I was pretty certain what the line was and he advised me of a different line, and it turned out I was right that time. So when I got to the 17th I said believe it what you see, believe you can make this putt and just hit it. I wasn’t thinking of lagging it or holing it, I just told myself as I walked up to it to believe that I can make it. And it went in. It wasn’t an easy putt and I would’ve been happy to make a four. I left the pin in because it was an uphill putt. Sometimes when you’re in that situation it’s very easy to have an adrenalin rush and it’s not uncommon to hit a firm putt. Also it was a fair distance away so I needed to see the hole

Q: How much of a boost was shooting 62 on Saturday?

A: Yesterday was the key, it was critical. Before the round I was two under par and the leaders were already at 12. So when you’re ten back after two days, you’re not really thinking about trying to win the tournament, you’re trying to get yourself back in the event by shooting six, seven, eight under. When I came out yesterday I was trying to get to double digits and you can still have a sniff. I started off hot – I was six under after nine holes – I looked up and I was already at eight under, so I think we can do better than ten and just see how deep we can go. Fortunately that’s something I’ve done a few times in the past – I’ve shot 60, 61, 62 numerous times before, so I have belief in myself that I can do it. On days like yesterday, everything you do works out – every putt you hit goes in, every shot you hit is perfect. You don’t overthink it, you just play, and luckily it turned out to be a fabulous day. If someone had told me in the morning I’d shoot 62, I’d probably have laughed.

Q: How does this win compared to your last five wins?

A: This is very special. This is the sixth time I won and it is my first on the European Tour. I think that’s what makes it more special. The other thing that sets this win apart is that I finally won a big event. The first three events were US$300,000 events in India. They gave me a lot of joy and confidence. Without those wins, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wanted to win an event which is big, not just in prize money but in terms of the field. I played with Lee Westwood. Unfortunately he had a bad day. You are playing in the field with Major winners and you beat them. That is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Q: How will this win inspire more golfers in India?

A: I’ve grown up watching Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa who are stalwarts for India. What I’ve done today is a first time for me but Arjun has won everywhere in the world. Jeev has won multiple times in Europe and Asia. It is very special to join them. It is a good sign for Indian golf because there is a new generation of golfers aspiring to do this. It is not only me, you have Gaganjeet, Rashid and Chikka S, who has done well at home. It is good that we are taking that baton over and achieve what they have.

Q: Will your win encourage more people to come to Malaysia to play golf?

A: Malaysia is a very popular destination. Thailand and Malaysia are probably neck-to-neck when it comes to the number of Indian golfers who come to Malaysia and play golf. You have so many golf courses where you can drive to from town. It is nice because you have golf courses in many other states as well. It is great for Malaysia and India in terms of golf relationships.

Q: Has settling down helped your golf?

A: It has been fantastic. What we do is not easy. There are a lot of travel and sacrifices that the support team has to make, whether it is my parents or my wife. You can’t do this alone. It looks like it because I’m playing but it is not. My parents, right from the start have encouraged and support me. My dad sends me a positive text message when I shoot a bad or good score.

Q: What were you thinking when Wiesberger was making that birdie putt on the last?

A: I was not thinking. In my mind, I was probably thinking sheep. I was hoping I could press forward. You never wish bad for another golfer. Bernd is a good friend and he has been playing fabulous golf. I thought he would actually hole it but golf is a funny game. You shoot 17-under for three days and suddenly it goes against you. It is all about momentum. When you are coming in with momentum, it helps you cross the line. I’m just glad that I got over the line.

Q: This win gets you in the top-40 in the world. That gets you in the frame of qualifying for The Masters.

A: I’ve got to take stock tomorrow on what I play and what I don’t play. It has been a dream of mine to play at The Masters. If that’s a possibility then I have to plan accordingly.

Q: Will you readjust your training schedule?

A: That’s what is so important for this win apart from the pleasurable win. The logistical advantage of this win is that I can sit down with my manager and plan my schedule. A lot of players play less or more to plan for the Majors. All the best players in the world have the luxury to do that. I might actually find myself in a position where I can sit back and say ‘I don’t think I will play this.’

Q: Are you a gym fanatic?

A: I’m not a gym fanatic. I had an incident in 2013 where I tore 80% of my ligament in my knee. That kind of restricts the cardio that I can do. I do a lot of yoga and a lot of meditation.

 Alejandro Canizares of Spain Alejandro Canizares of Spain

Alejandro Cañizares (Esp) – Fourth Round 74 (+2), Total 275 (-13)

Q: What is your verdict on the week?

A: It was a very fun week overall. I played really well the first three days and putted really well, but today just wasn’t my day. It felt like nothing was happening, I was missing shots, I chunked a hybrid on the tenth and I missed every putt I had until the 12th, where I made a good birdie. So it was a negative day until then, but I picked it up and started making birdies and I came back a little bit, so that’s the positive side and I’m going to leave with that and try my best again in the next tournament. I’m playing well, I’m putting well and I’m confident, so I don’t see why I can’t win soon.

Q: There’s a lot to be proud of with a third place in a field of this quality?

A: Yeah. I felt really good all week so I thought I had a great chance today, but it just didn’t happen. It was the best warm-up I’ve had all week but then you start missing putts and for some reason it doesn’t happen. I tried my best and that’s all I can ask for.

Paul Waring (Eng) – Final Round 73 (+1), Total 275 (-13)

Q: Your thoughts on the way the week has panned out?

A: I’d obviously take third place at the start of the week. I only got into the tournament late on Sunday after Dubai, so to walk away with third I’m very happy. I’m a little disappointed not to challenge a bit more today. But the more times I put myself in this position, hopefully I’ll get to a point where I can polish one off and take a victory. Hats off to the winner today – ten under par yesterday and 68 today is a great weekend. It’s a winner’s weekend, so congratulations to him.

Q: You had your moments, even today?

A: Yeah I started off nicely. I had a few unlucky lies – the ball was way above my feet on the first and had a semi-plugged ball on the second, but battled through and made a great birdie on the third. I had a bad lie on four and made a great birdie on five, so I lost a bit of momentum through the day and if those things had gone the other way I might’ve really been starting to press the leaders. I got a bit scrappy halfway into the back nine and I was a bit disappointed not to make birdie on the last – I thought that 52 degree wedge was all over the flag, but it just didn’t have a hop forward. 

Q: The bigger picture is that 2015 is off to a good start, isn’t it?

A: It’s off to a great start. I’ve got more money up than I’ve ever had by this point and I think this is my biggest pay cheque, so I’m very happy. The game feels good and I’ve just got to keep moving forward. I’m sure my day will come eventually.

Q: Thailand?

A: Yes I’m going to Thailand. I think I’ll enjoy the beach a bit more next week. But I’m going to work hard and try to take some form into it. It sounds like my sort of golf course as well, so I’m looking forward to it.

Lee Westwood – Fourth Round 75 (+3), Total 277 (-11)

Lee Westwood of England Lee Westwood of England

Q: Sum up how the week has panned out?

A: It’s been a good week, I’ve really enjoyed it. I always enjoy coming to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a great city and the golf course was very good. I didn’t quite have my swing where I wanted it to be, but I know what I’ve got to work on and the good points were on the greens. I putted really well all week. Today I left myself in some tricky spots, so it’s just one of those things.

Q: Essentially a top five is a good defence?

A: Yeah, a top five is a good defence, but I had a chance to win so I’m disappointed I didn’t. But the way I played, I’m not surprised. 

Q: And your hips, that was the problem on day three – were they any better?

A: I still couldn’t get them under control today. I’ve struggled with them all week. I wasn’t striking the ball well, so I’ve actually done well to get into contention.

Q: Overall, Dubai and Malaysia have been a good start to 2015?

A: Yeah, I was ninth in Dubai and fifth here, so it’s a good start to the year. It’s definitely something to build on. I’m off back to the States now, to Florida. My next tournament is the Honda at PGA National, then Cadillac at Doral. I need to get a bit more penetration in my ball flight and better distance control.