Lahiri retains SAIL-SBI Open title



Lahiri retains SAIL-SBI Open titleNew Delhi: India`s Anirban Lahiri successfully defended his title at the SAIL-SBI Open following a thrilling play-off victory over compatriot Rashid Khan on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Lahiri birdied the 18th hole from 10 feet in regulation play to force extra-time and then claimed his third Asian Tour victory with a four-foot birdie conversion on the same hole in front of a large gallery at the Delhi Golf Club.

Khan, 22, gave himself a great chance of a maiden title on the region`s premier Tour with a superb final round of six-under-par 66 which included a closing birdie but he could not prevent a dominant Lahiri, who signed off with a 68, from grabbing the winner`s cheque of $54,000.

Overnight leader Siddikur of Bangladesh closed with a disappointing 73 to finish third, four shots behind the play off duo while Shiv Kapur of India settled for fourth place after a 70. Thailand`s Pawin Ingkhapradit and Australian rookie Matthew Stieger ended in tied fifth place.

"It`s not sunk in. I`m still in disbelief that I made the putt in regulation and got into the play-off. After that, in the next 15 minutes, I didn`t know what happened. Unfortunately for Rashid, it didn`t work out for him. I feel bad for him as he doesn`t have a card on the Asian Tour. He`s got a bright future ahead of him," said Lahiri, who ended the week on 15-under-par 273 with Khan.

Lahiri was overjoyed to taste victory for the third time at the demanding Delhi course.

"I feel great winning here again. In regulation play standing over the 10 -footer, I took my time and decided what I wanted to do. I think this is the calmest I`ve ever been in that situation," said Lahiri.

"I played really good. Holed good putts and played really well this week. Starting with a par 72 on the first day and losing in a play-off, it`s disappointing," said Khan, who picked up $33,000.

IANS