By moving out of the National Capital Region, the BILT Open might be charting a new course in its four years of existence, but the shift from the plush Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida to the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) here means little to Anirban Lahiri.
Like last year, Lahiri is out to complete, what he calls, “his connect” with the course.
Lahiri, who got introduced to the Jaypee Greens during trials for an Asian amateur event nine years ago, developed an instant affinity for the venue. The relationship took a knock in 2008 when he floundered to surrender the lead on the final day of the BILT Open. The record was finally set right in November last when the 23-year-old prevailed by a thumping seven-stroke margin.
Consistent performances at the KGA too have given rise to a high degree of familiarity, a factor that will aid Lahiri when he tees off in this showpiece R 1 crore event on Wednesday. But a couple of close finishes will surely lurk in the mind.
“It will be déjà vu,” said Lahiri. At the Global Green Bangalore Open last year, he came close but had to settle for the third spot. There was a repeat three weeks ago, when he finished five strokes shy of this year’s winner, Ashok Kumar, at sole fourth.
“Despite not being my home course (he practises at the Eagleton Golf Resort on the city’s outskirts), the level of familiarity with the KGA has grown over the past one-and-half-years courtesy the PGTI," he said.
A plan is in place and it revolves around building momentum on the rain-washed fairways.
“I need to back up scores of four and five-under. The endeavour will be to make something happen rather than waiting for things to happen,” he said.
The recent remodelling has caused the course to play longer, but the revamp has also brought down the degree of difficulty. “I miss the old greens which were excruciatingly tough,” Lahiri said, after Monday’s nine holes.
Nevertheless, challenges remain, and Lahiri felt maintaining a bogey-free card would amount to shooting a low score.