Anirban Lahiri, the two-time defending champion, will attempt a hat-trick of titles at the SAIL-SBI Open, the Asian Tour’s season opener, which begins at the Delhi Golf Club from Wednesday.
The win in the last edition kick-started a good year where Lahiri finished runner-up at the Worldwide Selangor Masters, Venetian Macau Open and Indian Open. The string of consistent performances earned him a spot in Team Asia for the inaugural EurAsia Cup next month in Malaysia. With a career high-ranking of 106, Lahiri is aiming to break into the top-50 this season and he appears optimistic about his chances.
“I had a good couple of seasons in the last two years because I had a good start to those seasons. And this is the only year that I have played a lot of golf before the SAIL open, so in a way I am match fit,” Lahiri said.
The strong field will feature five players from the top-10 of last year’s Order of Merit. Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, who bagged fourth place on the 2013 Order of Merit, two-time Hero Indian Open champion Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), past winners Chapchai Nirat and Swedish Rikard Karlberg will be the other top contenders.
The Indian challenge will be strengthened by the presence of former Asian Tour winners SSP Chowrasia, Jyoti Randhawa, Digvijay Singh, Rahil Gangjee,and Himmat Singh Rai. Himmat said, “We always look forward to DGC. It is so unique and its variation always offers something new in it. The golf course is in good shape and there would be plenty of scoring opportunities and I hope I can club together four rounds of exciting golf.”
Lahiri added, “I played nine holes. It is playing good but there have been rains. But conditions will improve if it gets some more sunshine.”