Lahiri finishes 31st, emerges as best Asian at British Open
Lytham (England): Anirban Lahiri emerged as the best Asian golfer at the 141st Open Championships despite a final round of 73, his highest of the week to finish at three-over 283 that left him in tied 31st place in the world`s oldest Major.
Earlier, Jeev Milkha Singh also shot a final round 73 to finished at 10-over 290 in tied 69th place.
Meanwhile, the battle for the Open title continued as overnight leader Adam Scott was nine-under while former champion Ernie Els was six-under. Scott had three more holes to go and Els had one.
Lahiri`s finish put him alongside Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler and better than former Open champions Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, ranked second and third in the world respectively.
"I won`t be intimidated anymore. If I can come here and hold my ground, I can hold it in any event and any field looking into the future," said Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
"Its been a great experience and I am glad I came here in May with my coach, Vijay Divecha. It gave me a chance to look and prepare for this course. It was a smart decision instead of coming 10-12 days before the event and tire myself out," added Lahiri, who came close to the best finish by an Indian at the Open, a record held by Jyoti Randhawa at tied 27th back in 2004.
Earlier, in the morning Jeev finished his campaign rather tamely with a three-over 73 that ended with a double bogey on the 18th. He had finished long before Lahiri had teed up for the final round.
Jeev`s 73 saw him end the week at 10-over 280 and in tied 73rd place.
Lahiri missed the green on the first and opened the day with a bogey but then played very steady golf with eight pars in a row.
Lahiri missed a lot of makeable putts, but overall he said, "I am very happy with the week and I am a better golfer than when I started off on Thursday."
His experience of playing with three PGA Tour players also gave him the confidence that he could play with the best.
"Today I played with Nick Watney, he`s been in the top-10 in the world. It was nice to have a chat with him," Lahiri said.
After the bogey on first, Lahiri picked up a birdie on ninth, where he had an ace on the first day. So he had a different score on each of the four days, beginning with a par on first, bogey on second, a hole-in-one on third and a par on last.
"That is interesting," said Lahiri, when told about it. On the back nine with the wind picking up and conditions really becoming tough, Lahiri dropped bogeys on 10th, 12th and the 15th.
Jeev admitted that he was disappointed at not being able to do better, but said, "I was really glad to be here. I enjoyed every bit of it. I expected better results than the way it has ended up. I fought hard."
"My goal was to finish under par but I fell short. Mentally I`m tired and I`ll rest next week and start again at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (in August). I must admit I was not mentally sharp enough. Maybe it was the highs of last week. So, I am looking forward to a week in Chandigarh. Time to celebrate (the Scottish win)," he added.
"Will be nice to catch up with the family after the Scottish win and the start at the Open. My next two events will be the WGC at Akron and the PGA Championships at Kiawah Islands. I should have re-charged my batteries by then."
On the final day Jeev had one birdie on the par-5 seventh and bogeys on sixth and 15th and a double on 18th.
Jeev, who has played five weeks in a row, rose to 87th last week after the win in the play-off in Scotland last Sunday. His next goal is to get into top-50 and earn him a return to The Masters Tournament next April.
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