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Indian Open provides good platform for young Indian golfers to make mark at big stage, says Anirban Lahiri

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Indian Open provides good platform for young Indian golfers to make mark at big stage, says Anirban Lahiri

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SportsCafe Desk

03/08/2018

With the Indian Open set to begin from Thursday, 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri has asserted that this event provides young Indian golfers with a platform to make their mark on the big stage in the golfing world. He also said the Shubhankar Sharma is the biggest threat in the tournament this year.

Indian Open golf tournament started in 1964 and was earlier included in the Asia Tour but was co-sanctioned by European Tour in 2015 which was won by Anirban Lahiri. With the event starting on Thursday, India will be hoping to look to retain their title on the back of their star-studded lineup of Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur, and Shubhankar Mishra. The 2015 champion, Lahiri voiced his excitement in taking part in the tournament as he is looking to end his three-year drought. He said this tournament has always provided the youngsters an opportunity to make a mark on the big stage in the golfing world as he had won his second Asian tour card when he participated in the tournament in 2009.

“The event as such is a great platform for young Indians to make a first impression at the big stage. I still remember the year C Muniyappa won in 2009. It was on the old layout at DLF. That was my second year on the Asian Tour. I’ll never forget that round. I shot 64 on Sunday and made eagle to the back right pin on 18 to finish third. That basically secured my card. Everything else was history. I still remember that like yesterday. That happened to me when I was young, and it could happen to someone else this week. Like I said, it’s a great opportunity,” said Lahiri reported TOI.

“I think this is the best Indian field we’ve ever had and it also has the most in-form Indian players ever. Obviously with Shubhankar playing the way he is and Khalin (Joshi) recently had a top 10 in Malaysia. I also know Chikkarangappa is hungry, so there are a lot of hungry young Indian players raring to go. That will make it really interesting. So I’m looking forward to it.”

He further added that this year’s Indian contingent at the Indian Open is the best he has seen for a while which consists the likes of Shubhankar, Chawrasia, Kapur etc. The time winner and the defending champion Shiv Chawrasia is looking to achieve a rare feat of winning the third Indian Open title of his career on the trot.

“I know all eyes are going to be on SSP (Chawrasia) who has always done well at this event – he won it last two times and he was second in the two editions before that. So that’s two wins and two seconds in last four starts at the Hero Indian Open. It is an amazing record,” said the two times European- Tour winner. 

Shubhankar Sharma has been on a red-hot form for the last one year, as the 21-year-old has 2 European Tour titles and 2 Asian Tour titles and one Sunshine Tour title victory in the last one year. He has also entered in the list of top 100 ranked players in the world. His finished tied at 9th place in the Mexican World Golf Championship earned him a special invite to the Augusta Masters tournament later this year. Seeing his rise Lahiri has named Shubhankar as the greatest threat at the Indian Open.

"Coming to Shubhankar. It’s amazing to see what he is doing. There are so many kids out there that have the talent and potential. To see someone actually break through and just run away with his confidence and his game, like Shubhankar has, I think it’s a great thing for Indian golf. I think the kind of golf he is playing now. It’s hard to draw parallels, but what Aditi (Ashok) is doing in ladies golf, as a young golfer. I’m no longer young, so we need someone like Shubhankar now to step up,” concluded Lahiri.

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