PANCHKULA, SEPT 27
Anirban Lahiri posted a steady 69 in the final round of the Aircel-PGTI’s Haryana Open 2009 presented by HUDA and DLF to bag his maiden professional title. Lahiri totaled 10 under 278 for the tournament to finish one stroke ahead of C Muniyappa at the challenging Panchkula Golf Club on Sunday. Bangalore-based Lahiri thus took home the winner’s cheque of Rs. 4,84,950 to climb from fourth to third on the Aircel-PGTI Order of Merit for 2009.
Anirban Lahiri (69, 69, 71, 69) picked up a birdie on the very first hole, helped by a top-class drive and an equally good chip shot from the front edge of the green. The 22-year-old, who was tied fourth after round three, raised his title hopes after he birdied the seventh. Lahiri was in the joint lead along with Mandeo Singh Pathania at the turn as Harendra Gupta, the overnight leader slipped down the leaderboard due to his poor run on the front nine.
Lahiri added two more birdies to his card on the 10th and 12th to become the sole leader. He made a good 15 feet putt for birdie on the 12th and followed that up with a 12-footer for par on the 13th. The Asian Tour regular found the trees with his tee shot on the 16th but recovered well with two left-handed shots to make a bogey on that hole. He then pulled it left on the final hole but made a good recovery yet again with a great second shot (seven iron) from the rough and an accurate chip to round off his week on a high.
Lahiri said, “It’s a wonderful feeling after winning my first ever professional title. I have waited a long time for this moment since I have been on the threshold of a win several times in the past but not really got there. I feel a lot lighter now after having achieved this milestone. It’s now time to build on this victory with equally good performances in the future.”
He added, “I knew I was in the reckoning when I saw the leaderboard at the turn. At that stage I felt I needed about two to three birdies on the back nine to seal the title as players in the leader group generally find it difficult to make too many birdies on the back nine during the final round. That’s exactly what happened today since the three players in the leader group (Amardip Sinh Malik, Mandeo Singh Pathania and Harendra Gupta) found it tough to get back into the game on the back nine.”
C Muniyappa (72, 69, 72, 66), another Bangalore golfer, produced the best round of the day to finish in second place at nine under 279. His round of six under 66 on Sunday was punctuated by an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys. Muniyappa recovered from the rough with his second shot (four iron) and then made a 30 feet putt to make eagle on the 15th.
“I fared well in all aspects of my game today and placed the ball to perfection as the pin positions were very tough. This second-place finish definitely gives me a lot of confidence for the forthcoming events,” said Muniyappa.
Amardip Sinh Malik (70, 67, 71, 73) finished tied third at seven under 281. He had five birdies, three bogeys and a triple bogey in his final round of 73.
Mandeo Singh Pathania (70, 63, 73, 75) and Ranjit Singh Rathore (69, 70, 70, 72) joined Malik in tied third place. Pathania, holder of the course record, made five birdies against four bogeys and two double bogeys in his round of 75 on Sunday.
Harendra Gupta, the overnight leader, slipped to sixth place as a result of his 78 in round four. He totaled six under 282 for the week. Mukesh Kumar was a further stroke behind in seventh place.
Angad Cheema of Shivalik Golf Course, Chandimandir, who finished overall tied 26th at five over 293, won the amateur title as he was the only amateur to make the cut.