Kuala Lumpur: Aiming to boost his position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), India's star golfer Anirban Lahiri has set his eyes on the Maybank Malaysian Open crown next month.
Currently ranked 68th in the world, Lahiri is pushing hard to break into top-50 a week prior to The Masters to qualify for the year's first Major championship in April.
The 27-year-old, who was voted as the Asian Tour's 2014 Players' Player of the Year, will relish a return to the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club from February 5 to 8 following a tied 10th finish in last year's Maybank Malaysian Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
"I'm really looking forward to the Maybank Malaysian Open. Will have played a few weeks in the desert (Middle East) before coming to Malaysia so I will be tournament ready. After a top-10 last year, I will look to better my record at KLGCC."
He will face a stellar field, which includes defending champion Lee Westwood of England, three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Major champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland at the USD 3 million showpiece.
This year's edition marks Maybank's 10th year as title sponsor of the championship and will also be the curtain raiser to the Asian Tour's 2015 season.
Lahiri finished second on the Order of Merit last year after a superb season where he won twice in Indonesia and Macau and notched six other top-10 results. He was also part of Team Asia which forced a thrilling tie with Europe at the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
"If I can get off to a good start, I have an opportunity to earn a spot at The Masters. Breaking into the top-50 in the world remains a major target as it will earn me a few invites and opportunities on the PGA Tour," he said.
"Winning an event on the European Tour would also be special. Hopefully I can follow through on most of these goals just as I managed in 2014," added Lahiri, who is a five-time Asian Tour winner.
The Maybank Malaysian Open has inculcated the ability to attract the best even as it is the place where world-class talent makes its mark.
In the past, this includes performances by the likes of Peter Thomson, Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell, Westwood and Sir Nick Faldo. More recently the tournament has also seen young stars like Korean sensation Noh Seung-yul (2010); Italy's Matteo Manassero (2011); Louis Oosthuizen (2012) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2013) making their mark here in Malaysia.