Lahiri wins BILT Open
Anirban Lahiri's connect with the Jaypee Greens is complete. It was eight years ago when he got introduced to the course during the national trials for an Asian junior event and the 14-year-old developed an instant affinity for the venue, reports Robin Bose.india Updated: Nov 08, 2009 23:13 IST
Anirban Lahiri's connect with the Jaypee Greens is complete. It was eight years ago when he got introduced to the course during the national trials for an Asian junior event and the 14-year-old developed an instant affinity for the venue. “I've always been comfortable here,” he said. The relationship took a knock last year when, playing alongside the “big boys” of Indian golf, Lahiri floundered to surrender the lead on the final day of the BILT Open.
The setting was similar but the result turned out to be vastly different, and a battle-hardened Lahiri was happy to announce on Sunday: “The past has been changed.”
Ending the truncated penultimate day with a five-shot lead, he sailed through the back nine to complete the third round today, only to be faced with the actual test. Despite the comfortable cushion, the mind rewound to last year. “A good start was crucial as I was two-over after four holes,” he
said. The clubs responding to their master, Lahiri began with a birdie and followed it with an eagle. A bogey on the 3rd wasn't perturbing, as the objective had been achieved.
The title more or less decided, Lahiri suffered a slump midway with a couple of bogeys and he attributed it to loss of concentration.
“I could have played better than the 20-under 268 as I had a target of 25-under in mind. But it was good that I did not lose my temper,” said the Professional Golf Tour of India's new Order of Merit leader after pocketing a cheque of Rs 16,16,500.
The brief climb down could also be ascribed to the absence of competition. “I expected a charge from Himmat (Rai) as at one point he was four shots adrift, but he lost his way,” said Lahiri of the thumping seven-shot victory margin.
The eyes firmly affixed on the course, the burly Naman Dawar kept up the momentum for the second successive day.
“I wasn't contending for the second spot as I knew four people were in contention,” he said. Incidentally, this happens to be his best finish on the PGTI.
It was disappointment for Himmat as a horrendous back nine caused him to slip from sole second to T3 with Digvijay Singh. Lahiri's overall card bettered the course record, set by Jyoti Randhawa last year, by a shot, but that did not seem to affect the champion. He was already thinking ahead. “Next time when I play here, I would like to beat the big boys,” he exclaimed.