Anirban Lahiri returns to Europe after long gap

Anirban Lahiri has not played on the European Tour since his second place finish behind fellow Indian Chawrasia at the Indian Open in March.

By: PTI | Bad Griesbach | Published:September 21, 2016 5:24 pm
Anirban Lahiri SSP Chawrasia, Anirban Lahiri SSP Chawrasia golf Tio, Anirban Lahiri SSP Chawrasia Rio 2016 Olympics, Anirban Lahiri SSP Chawrasia Rio, Olympics, Golf Anirban Lahiri’s last appearance on the European soil was the British Open and before that the 2015 European Masters.

Back to full fitness after a niggling shoulder injury, star Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri returns to action at the Porsche European Open.

Lahiri, however, goes into the event without a practice round as the Beckenbauer Course, which hosts the event at Bad Griesbach this week, was flooded and as a result the practice round and Pro-Am had been cancelled.

The other Indian in the field is SSP Chawrasia, who has been struggling with form having missed a series of cuts in recent starts.

A good week in Germany will go a long way in restoring the confidence of the Indian, who won the Hero Indian open, an event co-sanctioned by European and Asian Tours.

The 28-year-old Lahiri, who started the year inside top-50, but has since dropped to 86th, is hoping to use the next four months to get to the elite zone and then make a fresh challenge in the United States, where he has managed to hold his PGA Tour card for 2016-17.

Lahiri has not played on the European Tour since his second place finish behind fellow Indian Chawrasia at the Hero Indian Open in March.

His last appearance on the European soil was the British Open and before that the 2015 European Masters.

“Yes, its been a long time, so I am looking forward to playing this week, because it will be a good test of my shoulder and overall recovery. Unfortunately the weather has forced us to play blind with the course being shut all week so far,” said Lahiri.

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“The last few weeks (since Olympics) have been spent strengthening the shoulder, releasing the neck. I still have some residual pain in the neck that is coming from some nerve impingement but things are moving in the right direction.”

On how close he is to full fitness, he said, “I am close to 100 per cent. I had a minor shoulder injury, nothing too serious, nothing torn, nothing broken. It was nerve Pinch in lower neck. But now the shoulder is much stronger. This week should be good to see how it has improved.”

Not having been on the course for sometime, he admitted, “I feel a little bit rusty but obviously the hunger and excitement of competition is back. Sometimes a layoff is a good thing in getting your focus back. I’m hoping to have a strong week both physically and performance wise.”

Last year Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee won his seventh European Tour title with a flawless final round at the Porsche European Open. The Thai star led by one shot overnight, and maintained that slender advantage after a steady, rather than spectacular, four under par 67.

It was Graeme Storm who posed the most serious challenge, but the Englishman found water off the 17th tee and, although he managed to save par from 10 feet on the 18th, Jaidee clung on with a neat up-and-down on the 72nd hole for an aggregate winning score of 17 under par. In the process, the former paratrooper became the oldest winner of the tournament, aged 45 years and 323 days.