Anirban Lahiri zooms to finish 2nd in Adelaide LIV golf event

ByJoy Chakravarty
Apr 23, 2023 09:41 PM IST

A brilliant seven-under 65 final round on Sunday, managing to stay focused as his mother-in-law lost her battle against cancer, saw him end 3 shots behind Gooch

The biggest moment of his LIV Golf career also ended in sadness. Minutes after finishing solo second with a stupendous seven-under par 65 final round that charged an already electric The Grange in Adelaide, India’s Anirban Lahiri faced the news he didn’t want to hear.

India's Anirban Lahiri on way to a superb final round 65 to finish second in the LIV Golf Adelaide tournament on Sunday.(LIV Adelaide)
India's Anirban Lahiri on way to a superb final round 65 to finish second in the LIV Golf Adelaide tournament on Sunday.(LIV Adelaide)

While he was in the middle of the eight-birdie round, which elevated Lahiri to 16-under par (to finish behind winner Talor Gooch – 19-under) and bettered his tied second on LIV Golf debut in Boston last year – his mother-in-law passed away in Pune. Battling cancer, she had been in palliative care for the past couple of weeks.

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It was a second-straight runner-up finish for Lahiri in back-to-back weeks, having shot a bogey-free 64 last Sunday to finish tied-second at the International Series – Vietnam.

“The last few weeks have been tough for the family. Mom was in a lot of pain the last few days. So, we’re just relieved that she is probably at peace and in a better place now,” the 35-year-old said from Adelaide.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around a lot of this. So, just trying to process it right now. It breaks my heart not to be there with Ipsa (his wife) and my children right now. I’m here, but mentally and in spirit with them. I guess these are some of the professional hazards we have to deal with. I am so proud of my wife.

“The funeral is tomorrow (Monday), so there is no way I can reach in time. I am planning to play Singapore though it is hard to say right now that I am looking forward to it. After that, I will be in Pune, and be there with the family for the terhavi (13th day rituals).”

Lahiri started the day 11 shots behind a rampant Gooch, who shot successive rounds of 10-under par 62 on Friday and Saturday to open what seemed an unbeatable 10-shot lead over the field. (LIV Golf events are played over 54 holes).

But Lahiri, now ranked 91st in the world, started from the second hole and caught fire with three birdies and an eagle -- on the 7th hole -- in the five-hole stretch from the fourth. And when Gooch made a double bogey on the 10th hole moments after Lahiri had made another birdie on that hole, the gap had been reduced to two shots.

The American (73) steadied the ship with a crucial birdie on the 11th hole and held on for his first LIV Golf win at 19-under par. (Gooch took home $4 million and Lahiri $2.125mn).

Pat Perez (67) made a bogey on the last hole to join home hero Cameron Smith (66), Patrick Reed (65) and Cameron Tringale (65) in tied third at 15-under par.

“It would have taken something exceptional from the rest of the field to beat Talor after the start that he had. It is another second place finish for me, but I will take that. I am happy with the way I am swinging and the way I played the whole week,” said Lahiri, adding that his golf seems to have drawn inspiration from his mother-in-law.

“I left some out there today as well, but I can’t complain about my golf over the weekend after shooting 13-under for two successive weekends.

“I think mentally I’ve managed to just get clearer and more focused…and get more involved in my process. Honestly, I am just counting my blessings and enjoying a new perspective. Probably, I am just playing with a lot less fear and probably not trying so hard and just letting go a little bit more.

“I’ve always found that a very hard thing to do. All golfers find that hard. But the last couple of weeks it’s come a little easier. There is a different approach, and I know why.”

LIV Golf – Singapore, where Lahiri plays next, starts on Friday.

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