Lahiri seeks to turn fortunes around at US Open

Only the third Indian to play at all four Majors after Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal, it will be Anirban Lahiri’s 16th Major start - the most by an Indian.

Published : Jun 13, 2019 20:50 IST , Pebble Beach

Anirban Lahiri is only the third Indian to play at all four Majors.
Anirban Lahiri is only the third Indian to play at all four Majors.

Anirban Lahiri is only the third Indian to play at all four Majors.

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri, who is going through a rough patch this season, will hope for a turnaround when he tees off at the US Open, his first Major since the PGA Championships in 2018.

The 31-year-old, who now considers the PGA Tour as his golfing home as he has been playing there for last five years, has not had particularly good results at the Majors since his Tied-5th place finish at the 2015 PGA Championships.

Yet, Lahiri, who had a superb 36-hole performance at the qualifiers in Ohio, within hours of finishing the Memorial last week, feels his game is trending in the right direction.

“I am due for a good result and I feel my game going in the right direction. I had a lot of birdies at the Memorial, but I also gave away a lot of shots, he said. “I have been working on some areas and I feel that is beginning to show.”

Lahiri missed the cut in both the Majors — the Open at Carnoustie and the PGA Championships — last year.

Lahiri is only the third Indian to play at all four Majors after Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal. However, Jeev is the only one to make the cut at all four, while Atwal missed the cut in all his Major appearances.

This will be Lahiri’s 16th Major start, the most by an Indian as Jeev has 14 Major starts. A cut this week at Pebble Beach could see Lahiri become only the second Indian to have made the cut in all four. Also, it would be his eighth cut at a Major - Jeev made the cut eight times in his 14 starts.

“The idea is to do well, not just make cuts,” said Lahiri with a smile sometime back. “To play an US Open at Pebble Beach is indeed a privilege and I want to do well. I have got in my eye and it is such a beautiful course, but challenging, too.

Lahiri will be playing his first two rounds with Ollie Schneiderjans and Japan’s Mikumu Horikawa, who is coming fresh from his first ever win on Japan Tour. The trio will tee off from the tenth late in the afternoon, by which time it will be almost dawn on Friday in India.

Brooks Koepka will hold a lot of spotlight as he tries to become the first man ever to win three US Open titles in a row, following his successes in 2017 and 2018 editions. Over the last couple of years, Koepka has established himself as a ‘big event’ player especially at the Majors.

He now has four Majors — two each of US Opens and PGA Championships. He has also been T-2 at the Masters this year and his best at The Open has be T-6 in 2017. In last nine Majors, of which he missed one — the 2018 Masters due to injury — Koepka has been in Top-6 six times.

Also, Tiger Woods, winner of the 2019 Masters — his first Major win since the 2008 US Open — is seeking his 16th Major as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ 18. Nicklaus himself has picked Woods as a favourite. And, Woods is also chasing his 82nd PGA Tour title to tie Sam Snead’s record.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson, who has six runner-up finishes, is back to seek the Major, which will complete his career Grand Slam. He has a total of five Majors — three Masters and one each of The Open and the PGA Championships.

Six Asian Tour stars will be featuring in the 119th edition of the U.S. Open. They include Lahiri, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is currently ranked 46th in the world, South Africa’s Justin Harding, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and the Japanese duo of Kodai Ichihara and Mikumu Horikawa.

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