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Golf: Lahiri snares second European Tour title in three weeks

Anirban Lahiri (right) beat SSP Chawrasia in a playoff to win the Hero Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club. Photo: AFP.

Anirban Lahiri (right) beat SSP Chawrasia in a playoff to win the Hero Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club. Photo: AFP.

February 22, 2015: Anirban Lahiri defeated countryman SSP Chawrasia on the first playoff hole at the US$1.5 million Hero Indian Open in Delhi to win his second Asian and European Tour co-sanctioned title in three weeks.

 

The India No. 1 was seven shots off the pace at the start of the day, but fired a two-under-par 69 that was enough to force extra holes as overnight leader Chawrasia struggled in the blustery conditions to return a 76 at the Delhi Golf Club.

 

Both players finished on seven-under-par 277 in regulation play and returned to the 18th hole where Lahiri sealed the win with a birdie from inside 10 feet. Chawrasia’s title hopes faded when his tee-shot landed under thick branches.

 

Lahiri made the most of his compatriot’s failings to secure his seventh Asian Tour title and second European Tour title of the month, having won the Maybank Malaysian Open, the first of three straight co-sanctioned events in Asia.

 

The 27-year-old extended his lead in the Asian Tour Order of Merit and moved to second in The Race to Dubai, but was most excited to fulfil his childhood dream of winning his national Open, which was sanctioned by The European Tour for the first time in its 51-year history.

 

“The new Hero Indian Open winner? That has a nice ring to it. I’m shocked. I really didn’t think that I would be in this position considering the way SSP and Siddikur [Rahman] had been playing. I thought all of us were playing for third,” said Lahiri, who started the week as World No. 39.

 

“This has been a childhood dream so it is very special to keep the Indian Open trophy at home. Every Indian puts winning the Indian Open on their bucket list. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

 

The India No. 1 added his national Open to the Malaysian Open title he won two weeks earlier. Photo: Getty Images.

The India No. 1 added his national Open to the Malaysian Open title he won two weeks earlier. Photo: Getty Images.

Lahiri took advantage of Chawrasia’s stuttering form when he turned in 34 before trading one birdie against one bogey on the back nine. However, Lahiri admitted a ‘magical’ chip-in par on the 17th hole kept him in the title race.

 

“That chip-in was crucial,” Lahiri said. “I didn’t want to come down 18 needing to eagle it. Even when I played 18 in regulation play, I thought I needed to birdie it. That chip-in was easily the shot of the day. It was magical when it went in.”

 

The first local to win the Indian Open since C. Muniyappa in 2009, Lahiri is projected to rise to just outside the world’s top 30, close to Jeev Milkha Singh’s career peak of No. 28 in March 2009, the highest ranking achieved by an Indian player to date.

 

Lahiri joined Singh (2006) as the only Indians to record multiple victories in the same European Tour season. Lahiri was second on last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit and is now in his rookie season on The European Tour, having progressed through last year’s Qualifying School.

 

Chawrasia, a three-time Asian Tour winner, was gracious in defeat despite finishing second in his national Open for the fourth time, having also finished runner-up in 1999, 2006 and 2013.

 

“It has been a great week and I played well for three days and had some bad shots in the final round, but it’s okay. The problem today was the wind. It was gusting a lot and made it very difficult,” explained Chawrasia, a former European Tour player.

 

“I am proud of myself for hanging in there to make the playoff and there is always a next time. Anirban is a great friend and he played well to win the playoff. I am playing well and hopefully it continues like this.”

 

Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera enjoyed his best result of the year when he posted a 69 to share third place on six-under with Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng (71), Marcus Fraser (72) of Australia and Joakim Lagergren (69) of Sweden.

 

Hero Indian Open (Asian Tour/European Tour), Delhi GC, Delhi, India

277 A Lahiri (Ind) 73 65 70 69, S Chawrasia (Ind) 65 67 69 76,

278 J Lagergren (Swe) 65 71 73 69, P Marksaeng (Tha) 68 70 69 71, M Perera (Sri) 67 72 70 69, M Fraser (Aus) 69 70 67 72,

279 R McEvoy  (Eng) 70 67 72 70, R Wattel  (Fra) 70 74 67 68, S Rahman (Ban) 65 68 70 76,

280 P Peterson (USA) 69 68 71 72,

281 D Chopra (Swe) 70 72 65 74,

282 C Nirat (Tha) 65 71 75 71, A Otaegui  (Esp) 70 70 70 72, A Da Silva (Bra) 71 70 68 73, P Junhasavasdikul (Tha) 73 70 68 71, B Evans  (Eng) 72 70 68 72,

283 J Randhawa (Ind) 74 69 69 71, A Vongvanij (Tha) 72 72 68 71, J Parry (Eng) 70 74 69 70, S Sharma (Ind) 69 72 73 69, J Hahn (USA) 70 71 71 71, T Khrongpha (Tha) 68 74 73 68, L Weber (Fra) 68 74 72 69,

284 J Singh (Ind) 72 72 68 72, C Pigem (Esp) 70 72 72 70, M Korhonen (Fin) 68 72 72 72, M Jaini (Ind) 73 69 71 71, V Riu  (Fra) 71 72 71 70, R Khan  (Ind) 71 72 71 70, A Velasco (Esp) 71 71 74 68,

285 C Del Moral (Esp) 69 71 72 73, P Lawrie (Irl) 69 70 71 75, S Chikkarangappa (Ind) 69 75 68 73, A Atwal (Ind) 70 70 75 70,

286 S Walker (Eng) 72 72 72 70, M Kumar (Ind) 71 73 69 73, A Wall (Eng) 72 70 70 74, M Tullo (Chi) 72 69 73 72,

287 C Kumar (Ind) 69 74 70 74, K Kumar (Ind) 72 72 70 73, K Richardson (Aus) 67 74 70 76, N Thangaraja (Sri) 71 73 74 69, W Ormsby (Aus) 75 68 71 73, A Malik (Ind) 75 69 71 72,

288 J Knutzon (USA) 71 72 71 74, S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 71 72 74, J Scrivener (Aus) 72 72 72 72, M Jiménez (Esp) 70 71 71 76, A Groom (Aus) 74 69 71 74,

289 G Maybin (Nir) 72 70 75 72, O Chouhan (Ind) 71 73 73 72,

290 J Janewattananond (Tha) 68 74 73 75, P Pittayarat (Tha) 72 71 72 75, P Meesawat  (Tha) 71 71 72 76, J Campillo (Esp) 71 73 72 74, C Lloyd (Eng) 74 70 68 78, J Palmer (Eng) 70 71 69 80,

291 M Mamat (Sin) 73 71 72 75, S Soderberg (Swe) 72 71 74 74, J Roos (RSA) 70 69 72 80, M Orrin (Eng) 71 72 70 78, N Holman  (Aus) 71 73 73 74,

292 M Tabuena (Phi) 72 72 71 77, K Pratt (Aus) 75 69 68 80, D Chia (Mas) 68 76 71 77, A Cheema (Ind) 72 70 71 79,

293 C Paisley  (Eng) 75 68 78 72,

294 S Kapur (Ind) 73 69 73 79,

** R Lee (Can) 65 75 75 RT

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

Results: European Tour (www.europeantour.com)

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