Lahiri, Jeev look forward to US Open challenge

Anirban Lahiri, who has not missed a Major since the 2014 British Open, and Jeev Milkha Singh, who has 13 Major appearances so far, look forward to their US Open challenge at Oakmont beginning Thursday.

Jeev Milkha Singh (right) on Anirban Lahiri...'He has made great strides and I see a great future for him.'   -  Getty Images

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will make his eighth successive Major appearance when he tees up at the Oakmont Golf and Country Club here on Thursday for the 116th US Open. The 28-year-old, who has not missed a single Major since the 2014 British Open, is also looking at improving his ‘Major best’ of Tied-fifth at the PGA Championships achieved last year at Whistling Straits.

In eight previous Majors, he has made the cut five times with a best of T-5 at the 2015 PGA Championships at Whistling Straits. However, the US Open is the only Major where Lahiri has not made a cut and he will surely be looking forward to improving on that.

The US Open also signals the start of a busy period for Lahiri, who will play three Majors and the Olympics between now and mid-August. “Sure it will be hectic, but I have been working towards and looking forward to it right from the start of the year,” said Lahiri.

Lahiri, whose best finish this year came in the Hero Indian Open at home, an event on European and Asian Tours, will have for company his senior colleague, Jeev Milkha Singh. “Speaking to Jeev is always a learning, because he has so much experience, but to practice with him and have him in the field at a Major alongside is indeed great,” said Lahiri. “I am playing nine holes with him and I am sure I will get to learn a lot.”

The US Open Championship this year returns to what is widely regarded as the toughest golf course in the world, Oakmont Country Club.The US Open was last held here in 2007 and the field included Jeev Milkha Singh. That year, Jeev recorded the best of his finishes at the US Open in Tied-36th place.

'I love difficult courses'

This will be Jeev’s fifth appearance and he came in as an alternate after missing out in a play-off at the European Qualifiers for the US Open. “Anytime you get to play a Major is a welcome thing and I love the US Open because it is set up so difficult and I love difficult courses,” said Jeev, whose 13 Majors appearances so far — this US Open will his 14th — is the most by an Indian.

“I have been playing well and I am looking forward to Oakmont, where I played at the 2007 US Open,” he added. “Also, it will be nice to see Anirban square up against the best in the world. He has made great strides and I see a great future for him.”

Now ranked 57th in the World and 91st in the FedEX Cup rankings on the PGA Tour, Lahiri has had a fair rookie season so far with 13 cuts in 16 starts in the wrap-around 2016 season.

However, he has mostly finished in the 20s, 30s and 40s and has had just one Top-10 at Dean& Deluca recently. He was Tied-28 at CareerBuilder and then two WGC events, and also T-21 at CIMB Classic in November 2015, but which is counted towards 2016 PGA season.

Lahiri has not missed a cut in last six starts, including Masters and four of his rounds have been 66 or under. He has great starts at times, but he has not been able to build on it and often putting has been a letdown.

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