Rapid Rise For Latest Winner Lahiri

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Monday, 16 February 2015
Read 922 Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:50

Three months ago Anirban Lahiri was preparing for a trip to the Qualifying School Final Stage in an attempt to earn a full European Tour card for the first time in his career.Not only did he do just that, but fast forward to February and the 27 year old is clutching the Maybank Malaysian Open trophy, the biggest pay cheque of his career and, not least of all, a likely ticket to the Masters Tournament in April.

Lahiri’s brilliant victory at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club propelled the Bangalore resident from 73rd to 37th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and if he can remain in the top 50 until the first week of April, when the field for the year’s first Major is finalised, he will become the second Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh to grace Augusta National.

Key to the victory was a 40-foot putt for birdie on the 17th, which Lahiri afterwards declared the shot of the day, and an impressive par save on the par five 18th. Intelligent and insightful, Lahiri revealed he used meditation techniques to control his emotions under such intense pressure on the course.

“You just try to 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.”

It was likely the same technique he used at the Qualifying School where, having led after three of the six rounds, he found himself right on the qualifying mark with just a few holes remaining.

Two birdies in the closing five holes, however, were enough for him to take the 17th card, but that was not good enough to gain him entry to the Desert Swing events at the beginning of the year – something he know says was a blessing in disguise.

“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.”

The son of an army doctor won twice on the Asian Tour last year - his fourth and fifth titles - to finish second in the Order of Merit, and he represented Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup last March, beating French star Victor Dubuisson in the singles to help Thongchai Jaidee’s team bounce back to tie the match against Europe.

“Now playing in the Masters is a realistic goal, so that’s definitely one of the things I’ll consider,” he said. “There’ll be a lot of thinking and I’ll sit down and have a long chat with my manager about how best to schedule the next few months.”




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