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Golfer Lahiri targets CIMB Classic title


Kuala Lumpur, Oct 18 (IANS) Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri hopes a minor alteration to his game will set him on the path to a maiden Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Tour victory when he competes in the CIMB Classic starting here on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Indian tees up in the prestigious $7 million tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour in a confident mood after producing a stunning seven-birdie finish in Macao on Sunday, according to a release.

A return to the city also brings back happy memories as Lahiri was victorious here at the Malaysian Open last season, which helped him seal a first Asian Tour's Order of Merit crown.

"It's always nice to come back," said Lahiri at a press conference on Tuesday, according to the release.

"Obviously I've had some success in the past and being the beginning of the 2017 season on the PGA Tour, it's nice to start that off at a familiar hunting ground."

Lahiri gave winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand a fright at the Venetian Macao Open last weekend, clawing from five shots back in the final round to force a play-off which he subsequently lost. It was his second tournament back following a five-week injury layout and the Indian liked the progress he was making.

"It's a huge positive. I have the belief. Mentally, it was fantastic. However, I don't think I was swinging my best in Macao. It's good I have my coach (Vijay Divecha) here. We've worked on a few things that I felt was letting me down It's nice to finally start playing well again. I still can't say I'm swinging my best. Hopefully the work I have put in with my coach will help," said Lahiri, who is a seven-time Asian Tour winner.

When asked how far away he was from a first PGA Tour win, he was hopeful of winning the tournament. Lahiri is currently ranked 83rd in the world after ending last season in the 40th position.

"I think I'm building into some form, I'm beginning to warm up and getting back to full competitive levels. I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. Whether I can maintain it for 72 holes, that'll be the difference between winning and not winning," he added.

"Obviously winning a tournament is on my mind. I feel I'm in a place where I'm comfortable on the Tour, I know the quality and I know the level, I know the level I need to play at to win and I know I can. That is obviously the overall goal, to win, to get back into the world's top-50, get back into the Majors and World Golf Championships."



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