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Anirban Lahiri rewrites history with tied 5th place finish at PGA Championship

Jai Prakash
519   //    17 Aug 2015, 11:48 IST
Anirban Lahiri in action during Round 4 of the PGA Championship

Impressive performance under pressure

Anirban Lahiri’s final round of four-under-68 at the PGA Championship 2015 capped a memorable day for Indian golf. The 28-year-old rewrote the record books with his performance at Whistling Straits on Sunday as he claimed tied fifth place to register the best finish by an Indian at the Majors so far. The previous record was established by Jeev Milkha Singh when he secured tied ninth at the PGA Championship in 2008.

Lahiri (70-67-70-68) kept up the intensity through the week with his four sub-par rounds and signed off with a tournament total of 13-under-275 to finish seven strokes behind eventual champion Jason Day of Australia.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Anirban on the international stage since he won his first Asian Tour event on home soil back in 2011. He continued to enjoy success in Asian Tour events staged in India, adding two more titles to his kitty in the following two years. The year 2014 finally saw him triumph overseas with victories in Indonesia and Macau.

However, it is 2015 that has been the watershed season for the Bangalore lad so far. Playing his rookie season on the European Tour, Lahiri notched up two titles, the Malaysian Open and Indian Open, early in 2015, to rise up to his career-best world ranking of 33. On Sunday, he made a statement at the highest level of the sport, by finishing inside the top-5 at the year’s final Major.

Remarkable comeback in Round 4

Anirban’s breathtaking performance at his seventh Major has not only brought him the international limelight but also significantly raised the stature of Indian golf. Lahiri is now likely to make big gains in the world rankings where he currently stands at 53 and in the European Tour Race to Dubai where he’s ranked eighth. He will also seal his spot in the International Team for the Presidents Cup, another first for India. Anirban, already in a commanding position in the Asian Tour Order of Merit, is likely to build an unassailable lead there.  

Lahiri, who was overnight tied eighth and six off the lead at Whistling Straits, came out all guns blazing in round four with four birdies on the front-nine. He sank three birdies from a range of 17 to 23 feet and narrowly missed an eagle on the par-4 sixth where he drove the green. The 3-putt from 5 feet on the 10th which led to a bogey and came against the run of play was probably the only dampener in his round.

Anirban capitalized on both par-5s on the back-nine, the 11th and 16th, by picking up birdies. He had reached as high as tied third after the 16th. The Indian star also made some important par saves on the fourth, 12th and 17th to keep the momentum going. Finally, the bogey on the closing 18th couldn’t stop him from finishing in the top-5.

Lahiri thus improved upon his previous best of tied 30th at the Majors which he only achieved at last month’s British Open. This was his sixth Major in a row. Anirban’s performance this week will further raise his hopes of representing India at next year’s Olympics. Importantly, a PGA Tour card could also be within sight.