Anirban Lahiri leads the Asian Tour golf surge
From the majestic Swiss Alps to the historic Delhi Golf Club, stars from the Asian Tour have blazed a trail of glory to reinforce the rise of the game in the Far East with India's Anirban Lahiri being among the top performers.
Currently ranked No. 33 in the world, Lahiri struck gold twice in three weeks as Asian stars enjoyed a great run.
Asian Tour members have won a magnificent five tournaments co-sanctioned with the European Tour in succession, a feat which has never been achieved before in the history of the game.
A new breed of Asia's young stars such as Lahiri is confident that another Asian Major champion will come sooner rather than later.
"It's exciting times ahead and I'll approach them in a similar manner. I'm trying to get better every day and will continue to work hard at improving my skills," said the current Asian Tour number one.
"One of the main things is to gain the experience of playing in the Majors and WGCs, playing well in them and in different conditions. It's all about learning as I go along and hopefully maybe I can get into the top-10 and vie for the number one spot," added Lahiri, who is a seven-time Asian Tour winner.
Lahiri will make his debut at Augusta Masters next week alongside Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand. Also as per current calculations, nine Asian nations would qualify for the Olympics if the current week were the cut off.
The Indians making the grade would have been Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia, who won the Panasonic Open on Asian Tour last year.
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han, himself a former Asian number one, hailed the recent dominance by Asia's elite golf stars.
"It has certainly been a fantastic run by our members in the co-sanctioned tournaments," enthused Han. "We are very proud to see the likes of David Lipsky, Scott Hend, Anirban Lahiri and Andrew Dodt winning the co-sanctioned tournaments, which is a justification of the work that we have put in to grow the Asian Tour over the past decade.
Since 1999, when the co-sanctioned programme began, a total of 86 tournaments have been jointly staged by the Asian and European Tours offering a lucrative USD 170 million in total prize money for the players.
Asian Tour members have won on 30 occasions, a proud record which Han believes will continue as playing standards continue to rise in the region.
At present, 15 Asian Tour members occupy positions in the top-200 of the Official World Golf Ranking with players from countries including India, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Bangladesh and China in the running to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year