Anirban Lahiri seals heroic Indian Open victory

Phil Casey 10:14 23/02/2015
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India’s Anirban Lahiri won his second European Tour title in the space of three weeks yesterday, just three months after earning his card at the qualifying school.

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Lahiri, who won the Malaysian Open a fortnight ago, began the final round of the Hero Indian Open seven shots off the lead but a closing 69 was enough to force extra holes as overnight leader SSP Chawrasia stumbled to a 76.

The home pair returned to the par-five 18th for the play-off and with Chawrasia unable to make par after hooking his tee shot into the trees, Lahiri made certain of victory by holing from 10 feet for birdie.

Lahiri had been four over par after 10 holes of his opening round but the win solidifies his place in the top 40 of the world rankings and effectively secures a trip to Augusta. The top 50 on March 30 qualify for the year’s first major.

He said: “It’s incredible. Starting today I didn’t really think I had a chance. It was really tough, one of the toughest days I have ever played at Delhi Golf Club and I am really happy to have accomplished this.

It’s been a childhood dream and to now keep the Indian Open trophy at home is very, very special.”

Lahiri admitted he did not think seven under par would be enough to win, with course specialists Chawrasia and Siddikur Rahman starting the day 12 and 10 under respectively.

He added: “The way Siddikur and SSP especially have been playing they have been hard to catch all week and for me I was just trying to play well and give myself a chance on the back nine. 

“There were about eight of us who could have pulled through and I feel really lucky and really happy.

It’s hard to come to terms with. Just a few months back I was in Spain in q-school and I was staring at not having my card with five holes to go (he birdied two of those to eventually finish 17th). Hopefully, I can keep playing well the rest of the year.”

The 27-year-old had crucially chipped in for par on the 17th in regulation as a number of players squandered chances to  win the title outright or join the play-off.

Chawrasia, who has now finished runner-up four times in his national open, said: “I played very well the first three rounds but the last round I played very bad. It was a little bit windy and that was basically the problem.”

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