Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar start T7 in World Cup of Golf

Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar shot eight birdies as they made an aggressive start in the first round of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne

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Gaganjeet Bhullar played solid golf in the first round of the World Cup of Golf

Asian Tour Release, 22 November 2018:

In-form Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India opted for an aggressive approach in the Fourball match which paid off as they registered an eight-under-par 64 to trail by two shots at the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf on Thursday.

The talented pair, who also represented India at the 2013 World Cup of Golf, took advantage of their fine form to sign for a flawless card highlighted by eight birdies at The Metropolitan Golf Club.

They trail leaders Korea – Byeonghun An and Siwoo Kim, England – Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter and Australia – Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith by two shots in tied-seventh place.

Lahiri and Bhullar hailed their great collaboration as they managed to feed off the positive energy from each other to put themselves in contention at the prestigious US$7 million event, which is celebrating its 59th edition this week.

The duo hopes to leverage their strengths effectively as they head into the Foursomes (alternate shot) match on Friday, where they will play alongside Team Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne.

Team India is part of the six two-man Asian teams in the field vying to hoist the famous trophy in the event, won previously by many legends of the games.

Team Malaysia (Ben Leong and Gavin Green) trails the leading trio by one shot in tied-fourth place while Team Japan (Satoshi Kodaira and Hideto Tanihara) and Team China (Li Haotong and Wu Ashun) are tied in 13th following matching 66s.

Team Thailand of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prom Meesawat came in a further shot back in tied-20th following a 67.

Did you know?

  • Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar hold a combined total of 16 victories on the Asian Tour, which includes three co-sanctioned wins on the European Tour.
  • Lahiri, now a regular player on the PGA Tour, is a two-time International team member of the Presidents Cup. He is also the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2015.
  • Lahiri, 31, and Bhullar, 30, have represented India together in numerous team competitions since their amateur days. They featured in the Eisenhower Cup, Nomura Cup and Asian Games, delivering a team silver in 2006, before venturing almost at the same time into the play-for-pay ranks where they also represented Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in 2013.
  • Bhullar holds the most number of victories by an Indian player on the Asian Tour after claiming his ninth career triumph at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways in August.
  • India’s best finish of ninth place in the event was achieved by Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa in Portugal in 2005.

Players’ quotes:

Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

Anirban Lahiri was in firm control during the first round of the World Cup of Golf
Anirban Lahiri was in firm control during the first round of the World Cup of Golf

We really enjoyed ourselves. We’re both playing good so it was easy for us to be aggressive. It was nice to finish with a birdie on the last. I think both of us felt like we should have made at least two or three coming in. Missed a few opportunities there, but this format is like that, you have to get on a run.  If you make one birdie, it kind of motivates both the players to get more aggressive and one birdie leads to another birdie.  It’s like you just have to stay in that frame of mind.

Absolutely looking forward to the foursomes tomorrow. Obviously the mindset changes overnight, but again, we’ve played this quite a bunch. Gaganjeet and I played a bunch of Eurasia Cups and I’ve played President Cups as well.  That experience is there of playing in the format and you can understand the dynamic.

It depends on the weather and how they set the course up. There were some pins today that were hard to get to. It will be interesting to see how they set up the golf course tomorrow. It might be a case of making more 15?footers or 20?footers tomorrow because that’s probably going to be the way to go about it.

That’s a very important aspect of it.  You have to feed off each other’s energy, especially tomorrow because you’re not going to have a perfect round of golf.  You might hit one shot here or there and you can be the partner, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

You go out there, you give it your best, you have fun and you’re enjoying each other’s company which is the privilege.  At the end of the day, that’s what motivates us because it’s not Anirban Lahiri or Gaganjeet Bhullar up on the leaderboard. It’s India that’s on the leaderboard, so we’re really motivated.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)

We both played well today. We had good tee shots and we gave ourselves a lot of good opportunities on the greens. I think it’s a decent start to the tournament. The key is hitting all the fairways, all of the greens and holing most of the putts.

That’s what our goal is going to be. It was a good teamwork, with our caddies as well. They did a great job today. It’s like a team play. You know, just go out there, have fun and give our 100 percent.

This is kind of expected actually. In today’s format, I mean, I’m glad we played well.  As I said, it’s a decent start to the tournament. In this format you expect people to go low and, I mean, talking about our game today, it was quite a good run from the sixth to ninth holes.

We were giving our 100 percent, we were reading the putts well, we were hitting the shots really close. A few errors which we couldn’t convert to birdies, but I think overall the birdie on the last did put a lot of smiles on our faces.

We just hope to keep the momentum going in the next three rounds.

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