Anirban Lahiri leads Indian challenge at Queen`s Cup

Updated: Jun 12, 2013, 19:10 PM IST

Samui: Anirban Lahiri, who has three victories at home, will be looking for his maiden win at the Asian Tour when he tees off at the USD 312,000 Queen`s Cup here on Thursday.

Lahiri, whose all three wins have come at the Delhi Golf Club, leads a strong Indian contingent of nine golfers, many of whom are past winners on Asian Tour.

The Queen`s Cup will be staged at the Santiburi Samui Country Club from June 13 to 16.

Himmat Rai, Rahil Gangjee and C Muniyappa have all tasted victories on Asian Tour, while Sujjan Singh has won on the Asian Development Tour. The challenge also includes two promising players in Abhijit Chadha and Ajeetesh Sandhu.

Meanwhile, Thailand`s Kiradech Aphibarnrat has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals by declaring he is ready to extend his lead at the top of the Order of Merit with a win at the Queen`s Cup.

Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Queen`s Cup is held in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Sirikit and is one of four tournaments in Thailand to feature on the Asian Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season after establishing itself as a players` organisation in 2004.

All eyes will be on Kiradech who will be among the top contenders at Santiburi Samui Country Club following a magnificent season so far where he won his second Asian Tour title in Malaysia in addition to three other top-five finishes.

Reigning Order of Merit champion and defending champion Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand believes the Queen`s Cup could be retained by the host country despite the presence of 23 nations, which will compete here this week.

Thaworn`s victory at the Queen`s Cup last year sparked a magnificent record-breaking season where he won two other tournaments and subsequently became the oldest Asian Tour number one.

The 45-year-old will be making his fifth start on the Asian Tour this week and is looking forward to repeating his winning feat again.

2010 Queen`s Cup champion Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan, however believes he can stop Thaworn and the other contenders in their tracks as he bids to end a two-year title drought on the region`s premier Tour.