Lahiri, Chawrasia paired together with Indian amateur Rayhan

Stars Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will have added Indian company as country’s top amateur Rayhan Thomas will tee off in the same group in the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, here.

Anirban Lahiri practicing ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.   -  Getty Images

Stars Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will have added Indian company as country’s top amateur Rayhan Thomas will tee off in the same group in the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, here.

Lahiri and Chawrasia, who have time and again played together in the final round of the Hero Indian Open, were very happy with the draw that will allow them to go all out in the first two rounds at least.

“It is always a pleasure to play with SSP and he is such a great guy. We have had some great contests at the Hero Indian Open, where we are 1-1 in terms of winning the title. He beat me last year in the title run and I did that a year before that,” Lahiri said.

The two will also feature at the Indian Open next month. Chawrasia, who started the season with two events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, has had a very modest start. He made the cut in Abu Dhabi but missed out in Qatar, despite a fair start in first round.

“I have been having a niggle since last year. It was there even in Indian Open last year, but the pain of having finished only runners—up four times since 1999 hurt me even more. I played with painkillers and went on to win, though Anirban played superbly.

“I cherish that win a lot. It is the best in my career. That helped me gain confidence as I also won in Manila for a second win in the same year. Now again I feel I am playing well, but just need a little consistency in my putting and I can get good results,” he said.

Lahiri, meanwhile used the off season to put in place a fitness regime, that has seen him lose some weight and look even more sharp.

“Being on PGA has made me realize how much I needed to do that. I took an extended break to work on that and that should help. I am happy with the game, but need to get more consistency. I had 22 birdies in La Quinta (CareerBuilder Challenge) but also gave away a lot of shots.

“The immediate focus is to get back to Top-50 so that I can play Majors and I want to get back to Presidents Cup team and also qualify for Tour Championships, which will in turn get me into Majors and WGCs.”

While Dubai is first foray outside PGA Tour in 2017, he plans Malaysian Championships next week, where he won in 2015, and then the Indian Open, which also he won two weeks after Malaysia.

“After that I am going to play in US and get my ranking up. The schedule will depend on how things go for me, but PGA Tour is the focus after Indian Open.”