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Lahiri shows desperation to win title

07 Mar 2018, 20:02 IST
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Gurugram, Mar 7 (PTI) Ace golfer Anirban Lahiri is desperately looking to end his three-year long title drought and reclaim the Hero Indian Open crown to earn a spot in the WGC Matchplay Championship.

The Hero Indian Open triumph in 2015 was Lahiris last title-victory as he mainly plays on the PGA tour and European Tour now.

I have done nothing in the last two years that I would write home about, I may have had a few good finishes and a good Presidents Cup, but I personally havent won, I havent lived up to the kind of golf that I should be playing, Lahiri said.

I was disappointed by 2017. My first target is to get a win, whether thats here or whether its on the PGA Tour. Thats my primary goal now. I need to get back into that mindset. This is probably the cut off for match play, so I need to go out and be aggressive, try to finish as high as I can. Try to get a second win, said the 30-year-old.

Lahiri is currently ranked 80th and needs to get into the 64-player field for the matchplay championship which takes place from March 21-25.

Talking about his goals, Lahiri said: Obviously I want to get into the Majors and the WGCs. Getting into the Tour Championship is definitely a goal because that is like a golden ticket to the next season. You get into all the Majors and a lot of WGCs.

I got close eventually, I finished 51st I think last year on the FedEx Cup, so I have to better that. Obviously if you win that takes care of a lot of things. Im just going about it in a systematic manner.

I have fitness goals. I have goals regarding my stats. Im trying to bring down my scoring average, Im trying to improve my ball striking. The years that I did well 12, 13, 14, 15. The stat that stood out was my ball striking and that hasnt been up to par the last 18 months. Im being as thorough as I can. Hopefully I can reach most of my targets this year.

So what is the hardest thing that he has faced on the PGA Tour?

The depth of the field is completely different. Its like when you graduate from the PGTI to the Asian Tour. There are so many guys who are shooting under par. And then you go from the Asian Tour to the European Tour, and SSP will tell you that there is another jump in the level," Lahiri said.

And then when you go to the PGA Tour theres another jump, and a significant one, probably not in the top five or 10 percent. I think they are quite similar on both the European and PGA Tours. But if you finished say 20th in Europe you would probably finish 40th on the PGA Tour.

For you to consistently stay in that top 15, you have to up your average. You can have those two or three really good weeks, like I did and I hope I continue to have, but its the other weeks that you have to keep pushing your level up. I think thats the biggest difference, apart from the usual things like getting used to the different grasses, or adapting to other things that are common across the board with a new Tour, he explained.

Lahiri would be one of the top contenders at the Hero Indian Open starting tomorrow and he said wind and pin positions will dictate his strategy during the tournament.

At a demanding golf course like this, a lot of your decision making will be based on two factors. One is the wind, the other is the pin position, said Lahiri.

You take a hole, like number nine. If you put the pin in front, close to the water, theres no advantage by being aggressive off the tee. But if you put the pin all the way back, even if you miss-hit with your driver, you still have a great chance. Being aggressive without any thought will only land you in trouble. I will pick my battles very carefully.

Lahiri said he wont go with a fixed strategy.

This golf course ,as weve seen with SSP, rewards percentage play, so you have to think hard and you have to be very precise with your strategy. If you are down wind, you dont want to be on the wrong side of the green. If youre in to the wind you want to be closer, he said.

Those two factors, for me, will determine how I go about playing a hole. I might play it defensively one day and aggressively one day.

Lahiri was addressing the media alongwith two-time defending champion SSP Chawrasia on the eve of the Indian Open.

I think this is the best in-form Indian field that weve ever had. Obviously with Shubhankar playing the way he is, Khalin (Joshi) recently had a top 10 in Malaysia. It is really great to see, so Im hoping that the Indians have a great week.

Lahiri said he made some changes to his equipment and he is feeling more comfortable with the adjustments

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