Venetian Macau Open Rd 4 - What they said

Sun 26 Oct 2014

Venetian Macau Open Rd 4 - What they said

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Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – Final round 66 (-5), Total 267 (-17) – Flash Interview
It’s really special. Hendy was playing great golf and it was sad to see him missing that putt on the last and hats off to him as he’s been playing some fantastic golf. He’s going to have a great end of year ahead.
For me, I came out today with an attitude of never going away. Hendy was going to be playing some good golf and I told myself that I was going to keep coming back, keep coming back and keep attacking. I think I played really well today and I could have shot a much lower number. I’m happy as it wasn’t easy as I focused all throughout the round.
When I got to the 14th tee, it was a different wind from yesterday and the pin was almost the same. I hit an eight iron yesterday and came up a bit short and I told my caddie that I was going to throw a seven iron as high up as I can and to land it just at the front of the green. I hit a perfect golf shot. I had just missed a putt at the previous hole and I knew that I needed a birdie to catch Hendy and that was just magic the way it came down. The par threes have been good for me.
My attitude and how I come across is from the Indian values that I have. I look up to a lot of these players like Ernie and Jeev. But when I’m on the course, I feel I can beat anyone of them on my day. I do respect them and I’m there to play golf.
This is for Ipsa. She’s coming out next week, so she will have something to hold.
Winner’s Interview
I’m really happy with the result. Obviously, it was an anticlimax as we both played some fabulous golf and it was tough. For me, I was chasing all day and right up to 14, that’s where the momentum switched a bit. It’s nice to come out of the other second as I’ve been second so many times that it’s not a great feeling. I’ve learned from that and I’m really happy with the way I played.
I was kind of expecting Hendy to be playing aggressively and the front nine suits his game with his length. He can hit the green in two of the par fours and I knew he was going to have a hot start. I came out with a mind set that I would keep going at it, keep plugging away and not go away. It would have been easy for me to not make those birdies on eight and nine and it would have been all over for me as I would have been five back on the back nine. I told myself that I had to go for every single pin on every single shot. I hit one flag unfortunately on seven. I focused well despite some bad breaks and some bad putts and I didn’t let up which pulled me through.
Venetian Macau Open - Round FourIt means a lot. Where I am right now in my career, I had set myself targets, the bigger picture which is to break the top-50 by the end of the year. For me to threaten that, I’ve got to keep playing like this. This will do a lot for me in term of world ranking points. It’s fantastic to win my second, which was also my target earlier in the year. Lots of positives. I missed the cut last week after a long time so I had time to think about what I was doing wrong and how was I was not thinking positively on the course. I’m happy I managed to turn that around after a bad week last week.
I think I have now grown as a player, maybe from 24 months back. My game is there that I  know I can compete against the best players in the world. There are still some areas that I know I must get better. I’m working on it and it’s obviously improving.
I hit the pin on seven. It was tough at least on the first few holes. The crowds are not used to walking around in tournaments. Sometimes, we had phones going off and people walking and I was not alone. We had more volunteers on the back nine and I’m sure it’ll get better. It wasn’t easy as the stakes are high but you back away. Sometimes it’s not easy as the pressure is on.
This course is very tricky. For me, the tournament is going to be won on the back nine. That’s where you have the birdie chances. There are some tough holes and some easy holes. You have to try to birdie 15, 18. It all boils down on the back nine. I told myself if I could get a couple back, he went ahead after seven, I just told myself if I’m two or three back, I still had a chance. But if I was five back it would have been hard as he was playing too well. It was important I made those birdies on eight and nine. It was going back and forth, back and forth, pressure on him, pressure on me, it was fantastic, I think both of us played really well.
Think back about the 2008 Singapore Open?
When I look back now, I tell myself accidents happen. I was a kid, a rookie and was not prepared. But I have learned a lot. It was the first time I had seen that level of golf and it opened my eyes. There were shots I couldn’t visualize and when you see those shots, you wonder how to hit shots like that. I think that’s how you learn from the best players in the world. For me, my career has been like that, I try to learn and try to observe and see how I can improve. That was an important time of my career where I could play with Phil and see what I needed to do.
Venetian Macau Open - Round FourTell us about the birdie on 14?
I was upset with myself after missing a relatively easy short putt on 13 for birdie. As I was walking to the tee, I was telling my caddie that we have to reduce the lead by the 16 hole. I was two back and we had five holes to play and I’ve got three holes to make those two shots up. Scott made a bad swing and it opened the door on me. I knew that if I hit a good shot there, I could get one shot back and if I could make a birdie, I could make a birdie as he could have dropped a bogey. I hit a seven as hard and high as I could and it came out perfect. One of the best shots of the week.
Sets you up now for the next few weeks?
This is the time of the year where you want to play your best golf. We’ve got the biggest events with prize money and world ranking points and there are a lot to play for. I’m playing well and I’m confident. I’m focused on what I need to do.
Was it your aggressive attitude which swung things in your favour?
I love playing under pressure. I think it brings out the best in me. Under the gun, I perform well and I think clearly. I know Hendy and we are good friends. I know his style of play and what a good player he is. I knew I had to come out and fire and make him think I was not going to go away. If he’s thinking I par the last seven holes, I win, it makes it easy for him. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get him in a comfortable frame of mind. I wanted to keep coming back and make those birdies so that he felt he had to play well. That’s how I was thinking. I was happy I was playing with him so that I could add the pressure. Last year, I was in the second last group and he was behind me with Ernie. I remember after finishing last year, I thought that I would have put so much pressure on him as he only saw my score at the 17 last year.
How have you improved the last two years?
It’s difficult to keep the graph going up, up, up. The last 24 months have been fantastic. I won my first event four years back and it’s been an upward curve. My targets have been qualitative, not quantitative. My target has kept my perspective on where I need to go. I will have to keep changing my targets and trying my heart out to reach those targets. I have to keep working harder and working smarter to become better. That’s why I think I’ve managed to improve. I’m willing to put in whatever is needed.
Who has been your biggest influence?
It’s difficult to say that one person influence my golf. There are so many people. You see a good golfer, a successful golfer and there are at least seven or 10 people behind that story. There’s a coach, a mother, a father, a golf course,  a trainer, a physio, there’re so many people. It takes a team. I have had the same coach for the last 13 years and we’ve grown together. My parents have supported me and my wife now, who have supported me.
Venetian Macau Open - Round FourScott Hend (Aus) – Final round 69 (-2), Total 268 (-16)
I hit too many loose shots and then on the last hole, I had a lip out which I thought I put a good putt on it. Unfortunately it lipped out. I looked up to see it lipping out. I thought I had made the putt. To be honest, the tournament had slipped at the last as the tee shot wasn’t in play. I had to hit the fairway which would have made it a lot easier but I missed the fairway which made my job a little bit harder.
Prom Meesawat (Tha) – Final round 66 (-5), Total 268 (-16)
I had a good back nine but it was up and down the first four holes, Started bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, but to finish on five under for the round, I’m happy. My goal was to stay inside the top-three. It is not easy to catch Hendy or Anirban. I shot five under and it’s a good week.
I would have hoped for a better start. If I was a few under after the first three holes, it could have been better. I’m pleased with how I played. The back nine here is very tough and I shot four under which was good. The conditions were a bit easier with little wind.
I’m looking forward to next week now. I have been playing decent golf and I hope to maintain my form.