LAHIRI THE HOME HERO AT INDIAN OPEN

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Thursday, 05 March 2015
Read 1460 Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2015 07:04

Anirban Lahiri beat compatriot S S P Chawrasia in a play-off to claim an emotional home triumph at the Hero Indian Open and a second European Tour title just two weeks after his maiden victory

Lahiri, who won the Malaysian Open a fortnight ago, began the final round seven shots off the lead but a closing 69 was enough to force extra holes as overnight leader Chawrasia stumbled to a 76.

The home pair returned to the par five 18th for the play-off and with Chawrasia unable to make par after hooking his tee shot into the trees, Lahiri holed from ten feet for birdie.

Sweden's Joakim Lagergren, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, Sri Lanka's Mithun Perera and Australian Marcus Fraser all finished on six under, with Perera the only player to birdie the par five 18th.

Marksaeng three-putted from long range for par on the last, while Fraser held the outright lead on nine under par after 12 holes, only to double bogey the 13th and drop another shot on the 16th.

Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman began the day two off the lead on ten and briefly led after five straight pars at the start of his round, but a ragged inward 39 cost him a shot at the title.

“It’s incredible – starting today I didn’t really think I had a chance,” said Lahiri. 



“It was one of the toughest days ever that I’ve played golf at Delhi Golf Club and I’m really happy to have accomplished this: it’s a childhood dream.

“I was just trying to play well and give myself a chance on the back nine. There were about eight of us who could have pulled through so I feel really lucky and fortunate, and really happy.”

Lahiri, the highest-ranked player in the field, had made a perfect start in windy conditions at the narrow tree-lined course with a birdie from 15 feet at the first and a tap-in at the next following a splendid approach.

Another gain at the fifth followed, but three bogeys against a single birdie over the next ten holes saw his challenge stall.

However, overnight leader Chawrasia – twice a winner at this venue previously - gave the field hope when he found trees off the tee at both the third and fourth and followed a bogey with a double bogey.

Lahiri fired his approach to five feet at the 16th for a crucial birdie, but perhaps just as important was his chip-in for par at the 17th hole after duffing his initial effort and he did well to save par again at the last after driving into trees.

That left Chawrasia needing to birdie the last, but despite a huge slice of fortune when his ball bounced out the trees down the right and into the first cut, he missed a 20 footer for the title and then was not so lucky when he leaked his drive again on returning to the 18th.

Victory moves Lahiri to second on The Race to Dubai and cements his place in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, with a Masters Tournament invite in April now looking certain.

“It’s hard to come to terms with,” he added. “Just six months back I was in Spain at Qualifying School and really relieved having stared at not having my card with five holes to go, so it feels like I’ve skipped a couple of steps to get to where I am right now. It’s obviously a fantastic feeling and hopefully I can keep playing well through the year.”


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