Gurgaon, 08 Mar 2017

Olympians Lahiri & Chawrasia to renew rivalry at Indian Open 2017

Two of India’s top golfers Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia are good friends having played a lot of golf together in recent years, especially on the Asian Tour. The duo even went on to represent India at the Rio Olympics last year. 

However, there has also been a healthy rivalry that has played out between the two in recent years particularly at the Indian Open.

Interestingly, Chawrasia and Lahiri have finished in the top-3 in their last three starts at the Indian Open.

While Anirban prevailed over SSP in a playoff to win the 2015 edition of the tournament, the following year SSP came out trumps to win Indian golf’s blue riband event even as Anirban finished tied second. Both Lahiri and Chawrasia were also joint runners-up when Siddikur Rahman won in 2013.
India’s two Olympian golfers now return to renew their rivalry at the 2017 edition of the event which will be played at the newly-designed Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

The two will be eager to succeed once again this week as they look at achieving certain goals.

A victory this week for the 29-year-old Lahiri, ranked 73rd in the world, would not only help him qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play in two weeks’ time but also improve his prospects of making it to the Masters Tournament, the year's first Major, next month.

Lahiri, who has so far posted four top-25s in the current PGA Tour season, said, “It’s going to be a challenge for sure. I would say there are two factors that would be interesting to see. One is how they set up the golf course. If you really want to be aggressive you could make the golf course really, really hard. Pace of play is going to be a concern and if it gets windy it’s going to be extremely hard. I think they are going to set it up for scoring, which is a good thing.
“I’ve had a couple of weekends where I feel like I’ve let it go a bit. Most of it has come on and around the greens. That’s the one area that I’m working hard on. We’ve identified a couple of things that may have caused that to happen and are in the process of fixing it. I feel like I’m making progress.
“It also comes down to your confidence. You make a couple of six footers and a 15-footer and suddenly you’re putting great. I feel like my game is in good shape. Some of those top 25s were about as bad as I could have finished, given the way I played. It’s a good sign for me, but it would be good to put all 72 holes together and come in strong on the Sunday.
“My primary target is obviously Augusta (Masters Tournament), but yes I would love to get to the Match Play.  I played Austin Country Club last year and I really liked the golf course. But more than anything else I like how I’m playing right now. You want to play all of these events when you are playing well,” added Lahiri, who needs to finish alone in second place or better this week to qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play.

Chawrasia, on the other hand, will be aiming to become only the second Indian golfer after Jyoti Randhawa to successfully defend the Indian Open title when the prestigious tournament begins on Thursday.
Randhawa, who is a three-time winner of the tournament, won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 at the Delhi Golf Club to complete his hat-trick of titles.

The 38-year-old Chawrasia, who won at DGC by two shots last year, will also look to become the second Indian to bag four European Tour titles. Jeev Milkha Singh is the only other Indian with four European Tour titles to his name. Jeev’s last victory came in Scotland in 2012.
SSP said, “It’s (DLF) totally different compared to Delhi Golf Club. A few holes are really tough, but it’s tough for everyone. I’m going to give it 100%, that’s all I can do. I was runner up four times in this event and I was a bit frustrated as I had to win the tournament. The national Open is like our fifth Major, and finally I won it last year and I got the trophy. Hopefully, I can carry the trophy again.
“The greens and fairways are a little bit tricky. You have to place the ball at the right spots. I have a lot of good memories of the tournament and the only thing different is that we’re on a different course. I’m thinking I’ll just replay all my good memories.
“This is a tough course, if we play here more often, we’ll get used to it. It’s a different course. I don’t think there’s home advantage as it’s a new course for most of us. DGC is also a tough course but we’ve played there so many times and we know how to play it. That’s why Indians always play well in DGC.”
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