Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, 19-07-2021

Anirban Lahiri’s Olympic preparations and FedExCup Playoff hopes receive a boost as he posts a season-best tied third finish at Barbasol Championship

Lahiri rises 21 spots to 108th in FedExCup standings

Anirban Lahiri couldn’t have timed his season-best finish on the PGA Tour any better. The Indian star’s creditable tied third finish at the Barbasol Championship on Sunday serves as a morale-booster for him just ahead of his participation at the Tokyo Olympics, his next event.

Anirban (68-67-68-65), a former Asia No. 1, produced a stellar seven-under-65 in round four to finish tied third at a total of 20-under-268 for his best result on the PGA Tour in four years. He jumped 15 spots from his overnight tied 18th.

Lahiri’s outstanding performance which accounted for his third top-10 of the season also gave him a timely push of 21 spots in the FedExCup standings as he climbed to 108th position. This raises his hopes of making the top-125 that would enable him to retain his PGA Tour card and qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs beginning next month.

The 34-year-old will be playing just two more PGA Tour events – Barracuda Championship and Wyndham Championship – before the FedExCup Playoffs begin.  

It was also Anirban’s second-best result on the tour along with his tied third at the CIMB Classic 2016 (2017 Season). The two-time winner on the European Tour had recorded his best finish on the PGA Tour at the Memorial Tournament 2017.

Lahiri has now climbed 89 spots from 364 to 275 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) following his excellent finish at the Barbasol Championship played at the Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Anirban made eight birdies, including four over his closing five holes, to end his week one stroke behind the playoff duo of Irishman Seamus Power and American J.T. Poston (both totaled 21-under-267). Ireland’s Power went on to earn his first PGA Tour title following a six-hole playoff.

It was a welcome return to form for the Indian stalwart who had struggled with COVID-19 in April.

“I think all week, I've played a little better than the scores I've shot. I've been a little disappointed with my scrambling and just my score hasn't been as good as I would have liked it to be. I'm really happy with how I played. To finish like that was really important, just with rating myself on the FedExCup. I'm not playing next week, off to Tokyo, so I wanted to make sure that I get the most out of this week. I've done whatever I could, given the circumstances,” said Lahiri, who has featured on the PGA Tour since 2016.

His week’s cards of 68, 67, 68 and 65 marked the first time he has shot in the 60s in all four rounds of a tournament since finishing tied 10th in the 2018 Mayakoba Classic in Mexico. He was especially delighted with his ball-striking, ranking in the top-15 for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Approach to the Green and his putter worked like a charm where he ranked fourth in the category.

After an opening birdie on the third hole from eight feet, Lahiri rattled home a 32-foot conversion at the next before finishing strongly with six more birdies on his homeward stretch against a lone bogey on 13. “Yeah, I really needed those,” said Lahiri of his strong finish.

“I really enjoyed it. The golf course obviously is set up for a ton of birdies and eagles, so you better be flag hunting and rolling it good. All in all, a great week,” said the former two-time International Team member of the Presidents Cup.

The Indian heads to Tokyo at the end of this week for the men’s golf competition from July 29 to August 1 where he is determined to challenge for a podium finish against a stellar line-up featuring newly crowned Open champion Collin Morikawa, World No. 1 Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Xander Schaufffele, Rory McIlroy and local hero Hideki Matsuyama.

“It's exciting to be wearing the Tricolour. It's always a really, really special thing to represent India. Every opportunity that I get, I'm going to grab it with both hands, and hopefully I can go with this form to Tokyo and keep making these birdies because I'm going to need them,” said Lahiri, who finished 57th from a field of 60 in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

“It would mean everything (to win a medal). I think it would change the way golf is perceived in India. I think it would change the kind of support we get from corporates and the government. It will make the kids want to play more. It would have a similar impact to winning a Major. The Olympics is the most watched sporting spectacle in the world and definitely more so in India. I think more people would watch an Olympic event than just a regular PGA Tour event in India. It's a great opportunity for me to give back to the game and bring some glory to the country,” he said.

SOURCE: PGA TOUR



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