Refreshed Lahiri eyes good show in FedExCup Playoffs to qualify for Tour Championships
A rejuvenated Anirban Lahiri is looking to make a late charge to qualify for the year-ending Tour Championships with a good show in FedExCup Playoffs after cleaning up his game during his recent trip back home.
The 35-year-old Indian snapped a poor run of form with a tied eighth finish at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday which has put him in a buoyant mood as he prepares for his fifth Playoffs, starting with the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Thursday.
The next couple of weeks will be crucial for Lahiri as he seeks to qualify for his first-ever appearance in the season-finale, the TOUR Championship, and also a third appearance at the Presidents Cup for the International Team.
“You want to get hot at the right time of the year. There’s never a bad time to play well, but if there’s ever a good time to play well, it’s now,” said Lahiri, who begins the post-season in 63rd position on the FedExCup standings, said in a release.
“You can have a pretty average year, but if in your good week, you’re in the Playoffs, it will give the entire season a different outlook.” The top-125 qualified for the first of three Playoffs event this week, with the top-70 progressing into next week’s BMW Championship and finally the top-30 make it to the TOUR Championship which crowns the new FedExCup champion.
Lahiri will also seek to break into the top-8 of the International Team standings by the end of next week to make his third Presidents Cup team. He is currently ranked 15th with two qualifying weeks remaining.
He spent nearly two weeks in India last month to work with long-time coach Vijay Divecha, partly due to him missing four cuts in five appearances since May.
The dismal run spoilt an otherwise strong 2022 which saw him finish an impressive runner-up at TOUR’s flagship tournament, THE PLAYERS Championship in March.
He notched another top-10 and two top-15s in his next four starts before his game hit a road bump following a break from competition to welcome the arrival of his son, Avyaan in early May.
“Just felt like I needed to clean up on my game,” said Lahiri of his trip home.
“I hadn’t been playing my best. So I’m coming in with some rest, with some good work under my belt and looking to make a charge late in the season.
“This is the time of the year to play your best and hopefully make it all the way to the TOUR Championship, that’s definitely one of the goals.” Talking about his time with coach in India, he said: “I think it was long overdue to see Vijay. We spent a good 10 days or so and we worked on a bunch of different things.
“We looked at my grip, my posture, which has been my long-standing issue and then we also looked at kind of taking those aspects, those factors and finding a way to put it into my pre-shot routine.” Travelling on TOUR on a weekly basis can take its toll and Lahiri said spending time at home with his close friends and fellow golfers was the anecdote he needed to recharge his batteries.
“I also spent some time with my friends, which is always chicken soup for my soul and that always makes me feel very upbeat.” Lahiri’s best finish in the FedExCup was 51st in 2017 and he is aiming to achieve so much more.
Qualifying for the TOUR Championship is a priority as it will open up playing opportunities, especially in the majors and elevated events on the PGA TOUR.
“It’s been a very up and down sort of season. I haven’t obviously had the consistency that I was looking for or I would like but at the end of the day, the life cycle of the way a lot of the years pan out for professional golfers, you play well in patches,” he said.
“Ideally if I go deep into the Playoffs, if I get to the TOUR Championship, in an ideal situation, then I’m looking at a different schedule.”
Madhya Pradesh girl clinches gold in International Wushu Tournament
Priyanka Kewat from Madhya Pradesh has clinched a gold medal in U-18 48kg category at the International Wushu Tournament in Batumi, Georgia.
Priyanka belongs to an economically-disadvantaged family of Madhila village of Sidhi district and her father works as a cashier at a local nursing home.
“It was my first international competition, and I felt very proud to see my country’s flag flying high. I am grateful to my coaches, parents and the M3M Foundation for providing me with all the support and guidance I need to live this golden moment,” Priyanka said.
“The gold medal will motivate me to work harder. Now I’m focusing completely on competing in the forthcoming championship,” she added.
Priyanka was initially trained by her childhood coach Manind Sher Ali Khan and is currently coached by Ratnesh Thakur, Kalyani, and Sarika Gupta at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Bhopal.
Wushu is the chinese term for martial arts and is a full-contact sport which is an official event at the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and other multi-sport events.
Tennis - Bopanna in second round
Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop beat Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov 7-6(5), 4-6, [10-6] in the first round of the $6,573,785 ATP tennis tournament in Montreal.
It was a commendable win for the Indo-Dutch team against two top-30 singles players, quite adept with their doubles game. In the WTA event in Toronto, Sania Mirza and Madison Keys beat Alize Cornet and Jil Teichmann 6-4, 3-6, [10-6] in the first round to set up a pre-quarterfinal against the top seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens.
In the Challenger in Germany, Sumit Nagal beat Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy 7-5, 7-6(3) to reach the quarterfinals.
- Kamesh Srinivasan