Stakes higher for golfers Lahiri, Chawrasia at Indian Open (Preview)

New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Two eternal performers at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia will back themselves to hit the winning formula when they compete at the $1,660,000 Hero Indian Open starting here on Thursday.

While Lahiri will defend the title he won last season, Chawrasia will aim to get one place better than his runner-up finish. Chawrasia lost in the play-off against Lahiri despite the latter trailing by seven strokes into the final day of the 2015 edition. It was the fourth time Chawrasia was second best at the National Open.

And this year, stakes are even higher — it being the Olympic year everyone counting the rankings points earned in each tournaments.

However, the importance of the tournament increases more for Lahiri and Chawrasia, especially when both are struggling on the Tours, by their standards.

Lahiri, the reigning Asian Tour champion, is 107th in the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour — his maiden full season in the United states. He has managed just a top-25 finish in the eight outings so far.

Chawrasia is 31st in the Asian Tour Order of Merit and that is why this Indian Open bears more significance for the 37-year-old Kolkatan. And now back at the DGC, he feels at home.

“Honestly, I don’t remember the bad things. I try to remember only the good things and take away the positives from my past experiences over here. So when I start playing tomorrow, I will remember those good things,” Chawrasia told reporters.

“This is a short course, and I am not a very long hitter. So, on this course if you chip and putt well and land the ball straight then you get good results. I try to play safe over here,” added Chawrasia, who was part of Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup earlier this year.

The 28-year-old Lahiri will stick to the same routine at the tricky course. “Over the years if you have a strategy at Delhi Golf Club, you don’t mess with it. It is hard enough playing here so you stick with it. I won’t reinvent a new strategy because my plan works. I just need to execute it better and more efficiently,” said the world No.52.

“This is one of the events where you want to keep coming back and defending over your lifetime. It is a good feeling to have and you know that it can be done. The whole exercise is to put yourself in the position again come Sunday.”

These two will headline the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour alongside three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Peter Uihlein of the United States, who has three top-10 results in his last three events, and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia.

An in-form Scott Hend of Australia, who won in Thailand last week, Filipino rising star Miguel Tabuena, veteran Jeev Milkha Singh and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, the 2013 Hero Indian Open winner, will also feature in the event.

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