Anirban Lahiri, who finished tied 57th in Rio Olympics earlier this year, managed to make a commendable comeback ending runners-up at the Venetian Macau Open after having an incredible run of seven consecutive birdies to pull back a game to a playoff which almost went out of his grasp.
The Indian golfer put up a great show on the final day at the Open when he served up seven successive birdies to make the play-off for a second attempt at winning the trophy. However, Lahiri, the reigning number one in Asia, who won it the first time in 2014, only managed to finish a runner-up, behind Thai golfer Pavit Tangkamolprasert.
The Thai golfer though praised the Indian’s performance and said, “I didn’t see the scores on the back nine as there was no leaderboard.” Pavit, who started one behind the Indian birdied four times while Lahiri was two-over.
Pavit was 13-under after seven on Sunday, while Lahiri was eight-under walking off the seventh green.The first seven holes belonged to Pavit and the last seven were consecutive birdies by Lahiri, including a near-eagle at the end. During the playoff, though, he putted into the water as the Thai seized his first Asian Tour title.
Speaking of this amazing streak, Lahiri said, “It has been a struggle the last few months. I can’t say I’m playing my best golf either. But when it comes down to getting it done, you go into these trains of mind and you don’t see anything else but the bottom of the cup.”
Chikkarangappa was in the race before Pavit went ahead and then the attention shifted to Lahiri. Chikka was 12-under and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang nine-under. Then Lahiri began his ‘charge’ over the next 11 holes as he birdied the eighth and ninth, parred 10th and bogeyed 11th.
This was Chikka's third straight top-10 finish, this one being his best Asian Tour result, beating T-4 finish at Bangladesh this year.
Getting into the playoff and gaining the required momentum, even though he lost, Lahiri further said that, “I got really quick. On the tee shot, I was happy I won the toss and I wanted to go first and put it on the fairway. I think I rushed into that and I was trying to lay up but the rough was a bit thick.
“It caught the ball and I pulled it left. I guess that was unfortunate to finish like that. I’m happy with the way I played the back nine but disappointed that I finished second again.”
There were four Indians in top-eight, with Lahiri (268) finishing runners-up, S Chikkarangappa (271) ended tied third while Rahil Gangjee (274) finished seventh and Rashid Khan (275) signed off tied eighth.