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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Major progress: Lahiri holds nerve to seal British Open ticket

The win will give him a place among the world’s best golfers when The Open kicks off on July 19.

Written by Smriti Sinha | New Delhi | Published: March 3, 2012 1:19:45 am

After two failed attempts in the last three years,Anirban Lahiri will finally make his maiden appearance at a Major. Though Lahiri was leading the first day of the qualifying event for The Open Championship being played in Chonburi,Thailand,there were about nine golfers within two shots of him.

An average start to the final day on Friday could have led to jitters but the Bangalore golfer kept his calm and a hot putter helped him finish on top in the International Final Qualifying-Asia event with a score of 9-under 135. The win will give him a place among the world’s best golfers when The Open kicks off on July 19.

“I played the qualification event in 2009 and 2010 as well but I played some bad golf then,so it was about time I changed that and I am very happy that I gave a final round worthy performance.

Going into this tournament,I was very confident because of my title last week (SAIL-SBI Open) and it is advantageous for me that the Amata Spring course plays to my strengths. It is an open and long course,I feel I can drive 10-15 yards longer than the rest of the field and that is a boost in itself,” Lahiri told The Indian Express from Thailand.

However,he felt his hitting wasn’t great on the final day,perhaps resulting in all pars on the front nine after an opening birdie. But Lahiri,still three shots behind the leader,upped his game on the back nine to eventually birdie three more holes and eagle the par-5 15th.

“A qualification tournament is like a sprint,everyone goes for broke,everyone plays aggressive and I just had a one-shot lead after the first day so there was no room for complacency and I was glad I got that eagle and dropped only one shot today,” he added.

However,it had turned out to be quite a long wait before Lahiri could lay his hands on The Open trophy replica as play was suspended for two and a half hours because of a lightning scare and rain while he still had two holes to finish.

Open to all

From growing up watching The Open Championships on television to sharing the course with golf’s biggest names will be an emotional journey for the 23-year old,but the two-time Asian Tour winner feels he is ready to handle the pressures at a major.

“It will be an all-together different experience but it’s been five years since I turned pro and I’ve had my awe moments,like when I was paired with Phil Mickelson in Singapore Open. It will be about putting my head down and playing well. The Open is not just about participation for me,I want to make a good week out of it,” he adds.

Apart from making his presence felt at The Open,he has another wish — to make his father a part of that moment when he tees off at the Royal Lytham St Annes course in July.

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