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Hero Indian Open 2019: Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma seek reversal of fortunes at ‘Fifth Major’

indian open

Gurugram, March 26: PGA Tour regular Anirban Lahiri returns home to India after a year to participate in what he considers as the 'Fifth Major’ for all Indian golfers, the Indian Open. The 31-year-old had won the 2015 Indian Open and as a result went on to emerge as Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in the same year.

Lahiri has an enviable track record at his National Open having posted six top-5s in his last nine appearances. However, Anirban, currently 185 in the world rankings, did not have the best of seasons on the PGA Tour last year.

The two-time International team member of the Presidents Cup is now looking for a reversal of fortune with an inspiring performance at the world-class DLF Golf & Country Club.

Lahiri said, “It’s always wonderful to be back home. Every time I come back, I have happy memories, having played well in this tournament for a number of years. I always look forward to playing my National Open as it is like a 'Fifth Major’ for all of us Indian golfers.

“My game has been a bit inconsistent but it is moving in the right direction. I’ve had a couple of bad weekends, but I have managed to single out the problems which need to be fixed and I just need to pull it together and stay focused. It feels like I’m in that place where my game can just take off.

“I need to clean up my process on the weekend rounds. The problem with me is I always try too hard and am losing my rhythm in that process.

“Flying in straight from the US and having travelled so much the past few weeks my main focus is to keep my head in the right place.

“This course is probably in the best shape that any of us has seen so far. It seems to be the most playable compared to all the other years we’ve played. The greens are also softer and the grass has settled down.”

European Tour regular Shubhankar Sharma, India’s highest ranked golfer at 122, will be eager to go one better than his previous performance at the Indian Open when he narrowly missed out on a win after taking the joint-lead into the final round but struggled to a 75 to end up in tied-seventh. Incidentally, Sharma had also set the course record last year with his second round of eight-under-64.

The 22-year-old Shubhankar has been striving to get his game back on track in recent months as his last top-10 on the international stage came as far back as November last year.

Sharma, who became the youngest Indian to play all four Major championships in a single season in 2018, now has the opportunity to turn it around in familiar conditions.

Shubhankar said, “This was my home course for the longest time and it feels great to be back on familiar grounds.

“Obviously last year a lot of things were happening. I flew in straight from Mexico and then right after I flew to The Masters. So, I had to deal with jetlag and amidst all that I was still able to shoot the course record and do pretty well. I am a lot more relaxed this time around and more focused so this year will be different.

“The course is playing much better than last year. Most of the players I’ve spoken to have been happy with how the course is. I am obviously a lot more mature this year and really enjoying my game. I just want to get back into the groove and be at my best again.

“Winning the Indian Open would mean the world to me as this tournament is very special to us Indians. It would be even more special to win it on a course that has supported me a lot in my career.

“To join the past Indian winners that I have idolized since I was young has always been my goal. Hopefully everything goes well this week and we’ll see what happens.”

Source: PGTI Release

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Story first published: Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 21:46 [IST]
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