March 8, 2017: Indian star Anirban Lahiri will be aiming to motor his way to victory at the US$1.75 million Hero Indian Open starting on Thursday as he bids to maintain his stellar record in the prestigious tournament.
The 29-year-old Lahiri, the Asian Tour number one two years ago, has finished no lower that tied 15th in his last six appearances in his national Open, winning the 2015 edition and settling for runner-up place in 2014 and last year.
Lifting an eighth Asian Tour title at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club’s Gary Player course would also help Lahiri, ranked 73rdin the world, tick off several immediate goals, which include qualifying for the WGC-Dell Match Play in two weeks’ time and enhancing his hopes of getting back to the year’s opening Major, the Masters Tournament next month.
Reigning Asian Tour number one Scott Hend of Australia, ranked four rungs higher than Lahiri, is also in a similar position and needs to finish in tied sixth place with another golfer or better to qualify for the WGC event in the United States.
The long-hitting Hend needed three flights to travel from Mexico to Delhi as he chases a 10th Asian Tour title, world ranking points and potentially a maiden appearance at the Masters Tournament as well.
Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat is excited to make a return to the Hero Indian Open which he last featured in 2011. It was also the same year when the burly Thai broke through on the Asian Tour by winning the SAIL Open in India, which provided the launch pad to his career.
The Hero Indian Open is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for the third straight year and will also be headlined by world number 26 Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain and title holder S.S.P. Chawrasia.
Did you know?
- Lahiri has finished second, first, tied second, tied fifth, tied 15th and tied third in his last six appearances at the Hero Indian Open.
- Currently ranked 73rd in the world, he needs to finish alone in second place or better to qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play.
- Lahiri has finished tied 11th, tied 64th, tied seventh and tied 19th in his last four tournament starts in Dubai, Malaysia and America (two events).
- Lahiri has won seven times on the Asian Tour, including four on home soil. His last victory was the 2015 Hero Indian Open, the year he also became the Asian Tour number one.
- Scott Hend, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, is making his second Asian Tour start this season. He finished tied 29th at the Maybank Championship in February.
- Hend’s best finish in five previous appearances at the Hero Indian Open was equal 12th in Bengaluru in 2012. He finished tied 58th last season.
- Hend is aiming to improve on his current 69th position on the Official World Golf Ranking to qualify as the top-64 golfers for the WGC-Dell Match Play, which qualifying cut-off is this week. He needs to be amongst two players in T6 or better to break the top-64. A win could move him up to around the top-50 mark to qualify for the Masters Tournament.
- Hend is the most successful international golfer on the Asian Tour with nine victories. He became the first Australian to win the Order of Merit last season.
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat claimed the first of his two Asian Tour titles in India at the 2011 SAIL Open. His last Hero Indian Open appearance was also during the same year where he finished tied 29th. He made his debut in the Hero Indian Open in 2010 and finished tied 19th.
- Kiradech won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2013. He has also won twice on the European Tour, the 2015 Shenzhen International and 2015 Paul Lawrie Matchplay.
“My primary target is obviously Augusta (Masters Tournament), but yes I would love to get to the Match Play. I think I have to finish first or second this week.” – Anirban Lahiri