History was on his side, having braved a playoff twice in as many years, and on a stage of this magnitude, but the pressure putt had to be holed anyway.
A mere four feet from the pin, the dice was loaded heavily in his favour, yet Anirban Lahiri stayed his composed
He did hurry through the shot but then it wasn't the haste to lay his hands on a third Asian Tour title at the Delhi Golf Club. "I didn't want to give myself time to think," he said after defending the SAIL-SBI Open title.
A practitioner of vipassana, Lahiri hasn't been meditating for a while, but he "drew into it" this week. Up against Rashid Khan, in his first international playoff, the ooze of confidence was natur-al, but unlike the past, there was a quiet pump of the fist at the end.
Stay level headed
It is this ability to stay level headed, irrespective of the situation, that's left an impact off the course too. Going into the final day, a shot off overnight leader, Siddikur, it was natural for the son to connect with his father, Tushar. The buildup to the weekend wasn't the way he would liked but Anirban was pleasantly surprised when the senior Lahiri, one of his biggest critics, complimented him on the temperament despite a slow start here. From a phase where he "repeatedly failed to close tournaments" to "closing them at will" and then not "closing them as he would liked" - the reference was to some second spots last year, images of his metamorphosis would've flashed across the mind as he engaged in a see-saw battle with Rashid.
His caddy's words towards the end or Rashid's resilience through Saturday, there was enough provocation to lose control. Into his third playoff in his two years as a professional, Rashid, 22, had matched his 25-year-old rival shot-for-shot, and as they waited on the 18th fairway during regulation play, Anirban's caddy started to rue on what could have done better on the 16th. "I asked him to concentrate on the task ahead," he said. "They went ahead and closed it with a birdie and another one in the playoff. Anirban's record on the 18th had stayed this week.
The cheque of $54,000 by him, it was time to look ahead. There was "disbelief", but the need to stay grounded was not lost. "I need to sit with my family and friends and allow them to abuse me," he smiled.
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