Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri reclaimed his PGA Tour card after finishing tied 5th with a bogey-free five-under 66 in the final round of the Albertson Boise Open here.
With a tied 7th finish achieved in the previous week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Lahiri has now secured enough points to earn one of the 25 PGA Tour cards at stake in the Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) Finals.
The former Asian No.1 sent down three closing birdies, to finish three shots behind winner Matthew NeSmith of the United States.
“I haven’t experienced any kind of a high. Right now, I’m more focused on my golf and what I want to do in the time to come. I had a lot of belief in myself that I could get my card back and play well,” Lahiri said.
“I’m more relieved with the fact that I’m putting some scores together which was satisfying,” added the Indian, who posted rounds of 68, 65, 69 and 66.
After finishing a lowly 174th on the PGA Tours FedExCup points list, he needed to play in the KFT Finals to regain his playing rights on the world’s premier circuit.
And with his card safely in his back pocket now, he plans to challenge for a victory in the final tournament, the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, this week to try and top the ranking.
“I’m playing well enough with a lot of confidence and I’m no longer trying to secure my card. Hopefully it frees me up and I can focus on getting into contention again and maybe get third time lucky and win,” he said.
“If I can manage that, it’ll help get me into The Players Championship (PGA Tour flagship event) next year and helps me schedule my events a lot better,” he added.
Lahiri refocused on his basics with swing coach Vijay Divecha during the summer. He believes his game is now back on track for the season beginning next month.
“It’s coming together. It’s been a while since I was in contention and I needed to feel the adrenaline again and how to respond to it,” he explained.
“I didn’t wake up on a different side of the bed the past two weeks. I started working on some basics again when Vijay came over in July. We got some rest, recharged the batteries and game wise I started to feel good again,” he said.
“I hit it terribly but got up and down each and every time I was out of position. I kept grinding and had those birdies in the end,” added Lahiri.
He was delighted to shoot four rounds in the 60s, which was the first time since last November when he enjoyed his lone top-10 finish of the season at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.
”I’m more relieved to see myself scoring consistently and putting four rounds together. The trend is beginning to change and this gives me most satisfaction,” said Lahiri.
He is quietly hoping to make an impression to earn a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup. Lahiri featured for the International team in 2015 and 2017.
“The Presidents Cup is close to my heart but I think I finished 140 places out from the top-8,” he said.
“I don’t know when Ernie (Els) will make the picks and I’m not thinking of it right now. I just want to play golf and I’m not expecting to be picked unless I can turn it around. I’m just going to focus on events that are in front me now,” he added.