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Golf: India’s Lahiri rises to Asia’s No. 3 after magical month

Anirban Lahiri realised his dream of breaking into the world’s top 100 and is now Asia’s third-ranked player behind Hideki Matsuyama and Thongchai Jaidee. Photo: Asian Tour.

Anirban Lahiri realised his dream of breaking into the world’s top 100 and is now Asia’s third-ranked player behind Hideki Matsuyama and Thongchai Jaidee. Photo: Asian Tour.

April 29, 2014: Anirban Lahiri rose to a career-high world ranking of 67 following his dramatic victory in the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, which propelled him to the top of the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit (see top 20 below). The Indian is now Asia’s third-ranked player behind Hideki Matsuyama and Thongchai Jaidee.

 

Lahiri, 26, claimed a stunning victory in Jakarta on Sunday after producing a superb eagle on the 72nd hole. The victory increased his season’s earnings to US$192,150 and earned him 20 ranking points for his fourth Asian Tour success, but first outside of India.

 

“It feels great to be top on the Asian Tour Order of Merit right now. One of my goals at the beginning of this year was to contend for the Order of Merit. I’m glad I got off to a good start. I just have to keep focusing on playing good golf and keep getting better as the year progresses,” said Lahiri, who will get married next month.

 

“I needed the world ranking points, so I’m really happy I won. I think I played much better than my score. I hit the ball well all week. I played really solid and this victory means a lot to me.”

 

Lahiri joined the Asian Tour in 2008 and won three titles on home soil before his Indonesian triumph. After sinking a sensational 20-foot eagle putt at Royale Jakarta Golf Club to pip Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea and Australia’s Cameron Smith by one shot, Lahiri clenched his fists and celebrated wildly with his caddy as well as playing partner Rashid Khan.

 

Earlier this month, Lahiri was in the spotlight when he tied for 10th at The European Tour co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open, while last month he was a key player for for Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia, winning two points to help the hosts rescue a 10-10 draw with Europe.

 

His ability to produce clutch putts was evident in the second-day’s foursomes where he holed a vital seven-foot par putt on the last green as he and partner Siddikur Rahman won one-up against Joost Luiten and Victor Dubuisson in the last match out on the course. The hard-fought point kept Asia within four of Europe at 7-3 down and gave the hosts confidence going into the final-day singles session, where they completed their miraculous fightback.

 

“The EurAsia Cup was a very special event for me,” he said. “I am happy to see my game go up another level after the EurAsia Cup. It was a huge confidence booster.”

Outside the ropes, Lahiri’s personal life is also on the upswing as he prepares for his marriage to Ipsa Jamwal, his long-time girlfriend.

 

“I am very happy about what’s happening in my personal life. I would still be very happy and excited about my marriage if I didn’t win. Obviously now that I’ve won, it’s like the icing on the cake.”

 

Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, who missed the cut in Indonesia, dropped one spot to second on the Order of Merit with US$119,450, while Richard T. Lee of Canada, winner of the Solaire Open in the Philippines, was third on US$88,808.

 

India’s Khan, who won the season-opening SAIL-SBI Open at home, was fourth with US$75,687 after finishing ninth in Indonesia, while runner-up Baek moved up to fifth with US$68,359. Smith’s joint-second finish in Indonesia moved the Aussie rookie up to sixth position with US$64,875, which should be enough to secure his card for next season.

 

Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20

1. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) US$192,150

2. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) US$119,450

3. Richard T. LEE (CAN) US$88,808

4. Rashid KHAN (IND) US$75,687

5. BAEK Seuk-hyun(KOR) US$68,359

6. Cameron SMITH (AUS) US$64,875

7. S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) US$58,695

8. Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) US$54,111

9. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) US$51,643

10. Carlos PIGEM (ESP) US$50,530

11. Jason KNUTZON (USA) US$45,710

12. Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) US$45,091

13. Steve LEWTON (ENG) US$42,655

14. Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) US$42,100

15. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) US$40,535

16. Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) US$37,949

17. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) US$37,500

18. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) US$32,755

19=. Scott HEND (AUS) US$32,633

19=. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) US$32,633

 

Source: Asian Tour

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