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Golf: India’s Lahiri ‘a more rounded player’ ahead of second Open

India’s Anirban Lahiri is among 21 Asian players competing in The Open Championship and is looking to better his 31st-place finish two years ago. Photo: Asian Tour.

India’s Anirban Lahiri is among 21 Asian players competing in The Open Championship and is looking to better his 31st-place finish two years ago. Photo: Asian Tour.

July 11, 2014: Indian star Anirban Lahiri believes he’ll arrive for his second Open Championship appearance as a much more accomplished golfer than he was at his major debut two years ago, when he tied for 31st at Royal Lytham and St Annes.


Lahiri, the current Asian Tour number one, is among 21 Asian players in the field at Royal Liverpool, including eight from Japan and seven from Korea plus Thai duo Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.


Lahiri, 27, earned a starting place as one of 10 non-exempt players from the Official World Golf Ranking last week, although news of his late entry caught him by complete surprise as he was still on his honeymoon in Madagascar. After making hurried plans to get home – which took some 36 hours of travel door to door – he has since kept himself busy with coach Vijay Divecha.


“I’ve been practising hard over the last three days which is good. I’m just trying to get back into the groove,” said Lahiri, who married in late May. “It was a great surprise that I got into my second Open. I thought the qualifying cut-off was sometime in May and when I checked the Open website, they only had the regular categories available.


“I assumed I had missed the chance as I wasn’t in the field for any of the qualifying events and that was why I had scheduled to get some time off. My wife has taken it well and she understands the situation, being the wife of a professional golfer. She’s been very supportive and I promised to take her back to Madagascar.”


Under Divecha’s watchful eyes, Lahiri has been working hard on pulling off the shots required for links golf, but knows he must possess a strong state of mind ahead of the year’s third major.


“I’m looking forward to a new course and a new challenge. In the two years since my first Open, I believe I’ve progressed as a player and I feel I’m going back to the Open as a more rounded player than the last time,” he said.


“We’ve been working on reducing the spin rate on the ball and hitting low shots. I’m trying to get the rhythm and tempo going again and also working on the mental aspect. I want to play in a relaxed approach, as life has been hectic with the wedding and there’s been a lot of things going on like getting visas, accommodation and airline bookings done. I’m trying to get it all out of my head and focus on playing my best.”


A return to the world’s oldest championship is just reward for Lahiri, who is enjoying a great run this year. He has shot to the top of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with one victory and three other top-10s and played a big role in Asia’s memorable draw with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia, where he contributed two points.


Now 85th in the world ranking, Lahiri is determined to break into the top 50, which would give him access to the World Golf Championships and majors.


“These things motivate me. The Asian Tour Order of Merit is one of the few goals that I have for this season and I’ve put myself in a good position. It’s still a long season ahead,” he said.


“I want to push and see how far I can go. The sky is the limit. I don’t know where I want to get to; I just want to go forward. Everybody’s ultimate goal is to win a major or more than one. I just need to get into more majors for now and then hopefully have a chance to win. It’s a step by step process.”


Asian players at The Open Championship 2014


Japan (8): Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Ishikawa, Masanori Kobayashi, Yoshinobu Tsukada, Koumei Oda, Hiroshi Iwata, Tomohiro Kondo, Yusaku Miyazato

Korea (7): K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Kim Hyung-sung, An Byeong-hun, Jang Dong-kyu, Jin Jeong, Kim Hyung-tae

Thailand (2): Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

China (1): Alex Wu Ashun

Chinese Taipei (1): Pan Cheng-tsung

India (1): Anirban Lahiri

Philippines (1): Juvic Pagunsan


Source: Asian Tour (; Editing by SportAsia

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