U.S. Open bound Lahiri hails new experience

Mon 15 Jun 2015

U.S. Open bound Lahiri hails new experience

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Sentosa, June 15: India’s Anirban Lahiri heads to this week’s U.S. Open hoping to continue building on what he has termed as a “year of learning.”
The current Asian Tour number one has found himself playing on the big stage of late, courtesy of him breaking into the world’s top-50 following stunning wins at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open within a span of three weeks in February.
"It's been a year of learning, of new experiences, a lot of new courses and an increase in belief that I belong,” Lahiri told the Economic Times’ V. Krishnaswamy.
His last eight starts were first-time visits to the respective courses and he made five cuts, including at the Masters Tournament (T49) and BMW PGA Championship (T55). This week will be another first when he tees up at Chambers Bay for the year’s second Major, the first time as well that he will play at the U.S. Open.
"Yes, it has been a season of firsts in many sense. My bank of experience is becoming bigger with each week,” he said.
[pullquote align="left or right"]The Asian Tour is where I started and it is getting stronger. It will be nice to win the Merit List and join the likes of Jeev (Milkha), Jyoti (Randhawa) and Arjun (Atwal) who have done it before. - Anirban Lahiri[/pullquote]With his new found status in the world ranking where he is currently 45th, Lahiri has set himself numerous goals which include staying in the top-50 to ensure his presences in the Majors and World Golf Championships, qualifying for the International Team to play in the Presidents Cup in October and subsequently winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit where he currently holds a lead of about US$406,000.
"Each is a different goal, but each is connected. If I do well, all of these will happen," he said.
“The Asian Tour is where I started and it is getting stronger. It will be nice to win the Merit List and join the likes of Jeev (Milkha), Jyoti (Randhawa) and Arjun (Atwal) who have done it before. And that will also mean more and more Indians can do it.
"I'm in a good position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit but I know I can't take it easy too. I'll come back to the Asian Tour and play extensively starting with the Hong Kong Open.”
He also hopes to become the first Indian to qualify for the Presidents Cup, although Singh had come close some years ago but was denied a place due to injury.
No one from India has done that and it will be great for Indian and Asian golf. It is hard not to think about it. I was well­ placed but have fallen down a bit. However, I am looking forward to an upward push over the next few weeks. The captain of the International team, Nick Price, has spoken to me, we have exchanged mails. He keeps monitoring the form of all players." Currently Lahiri is eighth ­ the Top­10 on the points tally - are automatic choices in addition to two Captain's Picks.

He enjoys Match Play showdowns. At the inaugural EurAsia Cup last year between Asia and Europe, he won two matches, including a singles victory very Frenchman Victor Dubuisson who was fresh off a runner-up finish at the WGC-Match Play.
At the this year’s Match Play, he beat higher ranked PGA Tour winner Ryan Palmer and only lost on the 19th hole to Major winner Justin Rose.
"The EurAsia Cup gave me a lot of confidence. Beating Victor was a great feeling as he was a very hot player at that stage. Then, winning the Malaysian Open playing alongside Lee Westwood added to the confidence,” added Lahiri.
"I have played the Masters and now I'm looking at playing the others especially the US Open and the (British) Open Championship coming up soon. They are obviously the two big ones after the Masters and I'm looking forward to making a mark this time. Last year was no doubt disappointing (Lahiri missed the cut at British Open and PGA as he was not well at both events).”
Ends