Macao Open: Lahiri hopes to seal Asian Tour No. 1 spot

The 28-year-old is back at the Macau Golf and country club competing against a stellar field, including four-time Major winner Ernie Els, 2013 champion Scott Hend, Chinese stars Liang Wen-Chong and Zhang Lian-Wei.

Anirban Lahiri... aiming to win in Macao.   -  Getty Images

After a heartbreaking Presidents Cup debut, India’s Anirban Lahiri will now aim to defend his Venetian Macao Open title starting here tomorrow and seal the number one spot on Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Lahiri had missed a three-foot putt on the final day of the Presidents Cup as the United States beat the Internationals by one point.

The 28-year-old is now back at the Macau Golf and country club competing against a stellar field, including four-time Major winner Ernie Els, 2013 champion Scott Hend, Chinese stars Liang Wen-Chong and Zhang Lian-Wei.

“Anywhere that you win, it’s good luck or a charm. There are times you play well and you don’t win and there are times you get rewarded with a win. Anytime you go back to a course where you’ve won, it’s always fun,” said Lahiri, who clinched a memorable win here a year ago.

It has been a phenomenal phase for Lahiri as after winning the 2014 Macao Open, he won in Malaysia and India in February and then finished in the top-five at the PGA Championship and also earned a card on the PGA Tour in the U.S. His success reflected on his ranking as he moved into the top-40 world rankings and earned a place in the International Team for the Presidents Cup.

“It’s so different from where it was last year. The experiences I’ve gained in the last 12 months is like I’ve grown a few years as a golfer,” the World No. 39 said. “You play some of the toughest golf courses in the world and some of the best players in the world week in week out. You have some good results and sometimes, you don’t get a result. It’s been a massive learning curve and you can’t quantify, whether it’s the Presidents Cup, the Open or the Masters. Every tournament teaches you stuff about the game that you didn’t know a week ago.”

The field at Macao will comprise eight of the current top-10 players from the Merit list and Lahiri, who is the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, said he is ready to launch a final push to become the region’s new number one.

“This is the beginning of an important stretch. Not just prize money but also for a lot of world rankings. There are guys who can make a serious move up the Order of Merit, especially at the CIMB Classic,” he said.

“It’s a critical event. This is when you want to get on a roll and start playing your best hopefully. It was great timing for me last year. The goals have changed slightly for me and the targets are slightly different now than 12 months ago. I’m so glad to be back at the Venetian Macao Open.”