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Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 8:22:00 PM
Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 11:03:28 PM
India's Anirban Lahiri, currently seventh on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, hopes to do well at the CIMB Classic, supported by his biggest fan and father, Tushar. The RM22m event begins on Thursday at the KLGCC.
PETALING JAYA: India’s rising star Anirban Lahiri, boosted by the close presence of his number one supporter, is eyeing a top finish at the star-studded US$7mil (RM22.2mil) CIMB Classic, which begins at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
Anirban’s biggest supporter is none other than his father, Tushar Lahiri, who introduced him to golf when he was just 10 and was a serving doctor in the Indian army.
Lahiri senior was there when his son made his first Major outing at the British Open last year. Anirban made the cut to end in 31st spot.
The father is making his way from Bangalore to watch his son play in Kuala Lumpur and 26-year-old Anirban is excited at the prospect of playing against the likes of multiple Major winner Phil Mickelson of the United States, defending champion Nick Watney and Spanish stalwart Sergio Garcia.
Major champions Ernie Els of South Africa, who is also an Asian Tour honorary member and international ambassador, former US Masters winner Bubba Watson of the United States and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, the current Asian Tour number one, will also feature in the CIMB Classic.
Anirban is currently ranked seventh on the Order of Merit with US$244,973 (RM783,913) and he is coming here after a strong performance at the Venetian Macau Open. He matched the course record with a blistering nine-under 62 in the final round to finish second with a 13-under 271 on Sunday.
Anirban, who has three wins on the Asian Tour, knows another strong week in Malaysia will put him in position to challenge for the Order of Merit crown. He now trails Aphibarnrat by US$467,000 (RM1.49mil).
“Obviously it will be a very important event that shapes the Order of Merit. Anybody who finishes high up that week is going to have a good chance of winning the Order of Merit.
“My dad is coming next week to KL and it will be nice to have him around. I haven’t done well at KLGCC. I’ve not done well in the Selangor Masters this year, so it will be a good time to change that,” said Lahiri, who practises meditation to help him focus on his game.
“The run-up to the CIMB Classic is great. I was contemplating not playing in Macau as I’ve just returned from a knee injury. I missed two cuts in Taiwan and Japan by a shot or two but I told my caddie that I needed to keep playing to get some rhythm back. I’m glad that I went to play in Macau. I’ve been working hard to get into tournament rhythm and it’s good it’s starting to happen,” said Anirban.
Anirban, who finished tied 26th in the CIMB Classic last season, knows there will be plenty to play for as the winner of the CIMB Classic will earn playing rights on the US PGA Tour and a prized spot in the 2014 US Masters.
Tags / Keywords:
CIMB Open, PGA Tour, golf, Asian Tour, Anirban Lahiri, Phil Mickelson, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els
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