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Lahiri aims for glory outside India

Kuala Lumpur, March 11 (IANS): Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri is setting his sights on a first Asian Tour victory outside India after successfully defending his title Saturday at the SAIL-SBI Open golf tournament.

File Photo of Anirban Lahiri of India.

File Photo of Anirban Lahiri of India.

The rising star clinched his third Asian Tour title after defeating countryman Rashid Khan on the first play-off hole at the $300,000 Asian Tour event at the Delhi Golf Club and immediately set a new target in his burgeoning career.

“There’s a need to win always and to get better. There’s a need to perform on every surface on every tour and on every condition. A lot of people ask me questions if I can play abroad and yes I feel I can win abroad as well. It is just a matter of the 72 holes coming together and having some luck as well. I’m hoping to win outside of India this year but I won’t mind if I win in India again,” said Lahiri, who has won all his three titles at the Delhi Golf Club.

Lahiri will be amongst the favourites to contend at this week’s Avantha Masters, tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), at the Jaypee Greens course.

“The Indian leg is now turning out to be crucial as it’s early in the year. If you get off to a good start, you can be like Prom (Meesawat) last year where he had a great season finishing up. It’s important to get off to a good start in the Indian swing,” said the 25-year-old.

Lahiri is determined to keep his feet firmly grounded as he aims for more glory.

“There was a phase where I couldn’t close out tournaments and there was a phase where I could close out tournaments. I guess it comes and goes,” said Lahiri.

Lahiri’s successful title defence gave him a huge boost on the Asian Tour Order of Merit when he moved to second position with winnings of $54,000, approximately $800 behind leader Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand, who won the season-opening Myanmar Open.

Mithun Perera, the first Sri Lankan to earn a full Asian Tour card, is in third position on $35,250 while Khan moved to fourth with $33,000, courtesy his second place result at the SAIL-SBI Open.

Siddikur ($20,587) of Bangladesh, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($18,900) and Shiv Kapur ($15,000) of India occupy fifth, sixth and seventh positions, respectively.

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