Anirban Lahiri leads strong Indian challenge at Kings Cup golf

PTI| Updated: Jan 15, 2014, 21:13 PM IST

Hua Hin (Thailand): Three-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri will lead a strong Indian contingent of nine golfers at the King`s Cup Golf Hua Hin starting tomorrow.

Lahiri, ranked fifth on the Order of Merit, will be among a star-studded cast this week which include Scott Hend of Australia, who won three Asian Tour titles in 2013, dashing Swedish star Johan Edfors and defending champion Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand.

Seven other Indians -- SSP Chowrasia, Jyoti Randhawa, Digvijay Singh, Himmat Rai, Rahil Gangjee, Sujjan Singh and Abhinav Lohan -- will also tee up this week.

Order of Merit winners Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines will also feature in the USD 1 million season-ending event alongside Hua Hin native Prom Meesawat at the Black Mountain Golf Club.

Lahiri has won three Asian Tour titles in his fledging career but the goal of winning his first title outside of India remains as one his top priorities at this week`s King`s Cup which recently inked a five-year agreement with the Asian Tour.

Lahiri, whose all of three wins so far had come at home at the Delhi Golf Club, feels he has matured enough to win away from home.

This season, Lahiri won the SAIL-SBI Open on home soil and capped three other runner-up results.

"It is one of those signs that I`m getting old! I`ve been on Tour for six years and I`m a veteran at 26. I`m really happy with my personal life and my golf is reflecting that. I had a great 2013 and hopefully I can continue this year," said Lahiri who recently got engaged with long-time girlfriend Ipsa Jamwal.

"I have been unfortunate not to get another win but I have no complaints. It was one of those seasons where every time I come up against some sort of adversity but found something in my game that has helped me. I`m really happy with how it has been," he said.

"You don't really get much time to reflect on those missed opportunities. You are just trying to learn every week from the mistakes you make and try to take the positives and make sure you improve. That's been my attitude so hopefully I can keep the same frame of mind," Lahiri explained.

Lahiri's season haul of USD 465,696 has put him in contention to qualify for the Asian Team for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM which will be played in Malaysia in March.

However, his fate in the Ryder Cup style event will depend on his result this week as Baek Seuk-hyun of Korean and Prom, ranked seventh and eighth on the Order of Merit respectively, have a fighting chance to overtake him on the Order of Merit if they win this week.

If Baek wins, Lahiri will need to finish inside the top-four and if Prom emerges victorious, the talented Indian must secure at least a top-25 result to qualify for the EurAsia Cup.

"It is really special because it is going to be like the Ryder Cup for Asians. We've always wondered how that would feel. If I play well this week, then it will get me into the team," said Lahiri.

Lahiri has fond memories of the Black Mountain Golf Club as he secured his first Asian Tour top-five result at the Black Mountain Masters in 2009.

"I really like the track. This is where I had my first top-five result on the Asian Tour way back in 2009. I always felt positive coming out here. I think the greens are the fastest out here. It is going to be really exciting golf this week," he said.