Lahiri eager to relive memories at Open qualifying series

Chonburi (Thailand): Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri returns for another stab at Major glory when the Open Qualifying Series-Thailand gets underway at the Amata Spring Country Club here on Thursday.

The two-day qualifying will see leading professionals from around the world vie for four coveted spots to The Open Championship in July. Lahiri, who enjoyed a dream debut at The Open Championship in 2012, is eager to relive those memories all over again, having made his impression by firing an ace in the third round before going on to finish tied-31st. "It was quite a dream debut for me at the Open a couple of years back. As a kid, you look at the Majors as the pinnacle of all achievements. You want to play them and contend in them," said Lahiri.

"I had such a great outing when I was given my first opportunity at a Major. I had a hole-in-one and my dad was walking with me. I couldn`t have asked for anything more than that. It would be good to have another chance at the Open and hopefully do even better," added the 26-year-old.

Lahiri, who will be part of the elite Team Asia set to take on Europe at the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in Malaysia later this month, is also buoyed by his return to Amata Spring as it was the same venue which saw him earn his ticket to the Open Championship in 2012.

"Amata Spring is a place that I really fancy. I qualified for the Open at that venue and last year, I finished really well in a strong field event at the Thailand Golf Championship (tied-fourth). I`m looking forward to going back there," said Lahiri, who finished a career high of third place on the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Meanwhile, Lahiri`s EurAsia Cup team member, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh will be hoping to ink another record in the history books by being the first Bangladeshi to play his way into the Open Championship. Siddikur has recorded many `firsts` throughout his distinguished career and a debut at the world`s oldest Major will add another feather to his cap.

The two-time Asian Tour winner was the first Bangladeshi to win on the region`s premier Tour in Brunei in 2010 and he also put Bangladesh in the spotlight with his maiden appearance at the World Cup of Golf last year. "Everybody wants to qualify for a Major championship and I am no different. It would be good if I can become the first Bangladeshi to play in the Open Championship," said Siddikur.

Siddikur is aware of the pressure-cooker environment that is set to define the 36-hole contest but is confident of putting up a better showing after falling short last year. "Last year, I had a chance after the first day in Amata Spring but I made some mistakes coming down the stretch on the second day. I saw Kiradech Aphibarnrat post a low round in the second day and I started to feel a bit of pressure as there were like four players including myself fighting for the last slot which unfortunately I missed out," said Siddikur.

The Bangladeshi enjoyed one of his best seasons on the Asian Tour last year when he notched his second win and seven top-10s before finishing fourth on the Order of Merit. It is with that winning form from last season that he intends to carry over to the Open Qualifying Series-Thailand. "It`s a 36-hole tournament which means we`ll need to aim for good scores as there is no time to catch up. I had my best season in 2013 and I hope those memories will push me forward in the New Year," said Siddikur.