Defending champion Lahiri confident of bagging Panasonic Open

New Delhi: In-form Anirban Lahiri is confident of defending his Panasonic Open India title when he tees off on Thursday at the Delhi Golf Club.

Lahiri, who also sealed his spot for his maiden Major at the British Open in July by winning International Final Qualifiers Asia recently, said he would look at continuing his good form. "The win at the Panasonic Open India last year really kick-started my good run. Anybody on Tour will tell you that the first win is critical. Since then, I`ve made a lot of progress and also a slump but I`ve come out and made it a positive start by winning at the SAIL-SBI Open and qualifying for the British Open.

"I`m really focussed at continuing my form and keeping it at a level where it should be," Lahiri told the media after the practice round.

Lahiri, who is also Panasonic`s Sporting Ambassador, talked about the meditation course that he took up at the start of this season. "Meditating has not only helped with my game but also made me a better person. It has put me more at peace with myself, the environment, my surroundings and with my family. That`s what`s reflecting on the golf course," insisted Lahiri.

"I don`t think meditating has any direct effect on my game. I`m not losing my temper on the course, I`m much calmer and I accept whatever comes my way. The same things that would have upset me last year do not upset me anymore. I think those things are all contribution factors to me playing better golf," he added.

Meanwhile, another Indian stalwart SSP Chowrasia is also all set to return to his happy hunting ground at the DGC where he won his first Asian Tour title at the 2008 Indian Masters and will be joined by a multitude of Asian Tour stars ranging from 30 different nationalities. Thailand`s Prom Meesawat, the highest ranked player this week, will lead an immensely talented field including Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Scott Barr of Australia, Ben Fox of the United States and rising local star Chiragh Kumar at the USD 300,000 event sanctioned by the player-led Asian Tour and PGTI.

Chiragh, the winner of the PGTI Order of Merit last year, said, "I haven`t really been in the best of form so far. I played well on the local circuit last week so I`m carrying in a bit of confidence. I`m hitting the ball quite well so hopefully I can carry the form I had at the Indian Open (finished second in the event last year) into this week.

"We grew up watching all these good Indian players playing here and they have inspired us to perform our best on this course."


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