Lahiri confident on eve of Panasonic Open India

Lahiri confident on eve of Panasonic Open IndiaNew Delhi: Anirban Lahiri, all set to defend Panasonic Open India title this week, was full of confidence moments after he came off the practice round on Tuesday. Lahiri, who also sealed his spot for his maiden Major at the British Open in July by winning International Final Qualifiers – Asia recently.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Lahiri, who is also Panasonic’s Sporting Ambassador, said, “The win at the Panasonic Open India last year really kick-start my good run. Anybody on Tour will tell you that the first win is critical. Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress and also a slump but I’ve come out and made it a positive start by winning at the SAIL-SBI Open and qualifying for the British Open. I’m really focussed at continuing my form and keeping it at a level where it should be.”

Also brimming with confidence was Siddikur, a major golf star in Bangladesh after his fine performances on the Asian Tour. “Golf is growing and becoming popular in Bangladesh. There are a lot of good amateurs and I am sure you will hear more about them soon,” said Siddikur.

Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, the highest ranked player this week, will lead an immensely talented field including Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Scott Barr of Australia, Ben Fox of the United States and rising local star Chiragh Kumar at the US$300,000 event sanctioned by the player-led Asian Tour and PGTI.

Indian stalwart S.S.P. Chowrasia will also return to his happy hunting ground at the Delhi Golf Club where he won his first Asian Tour title at the 2008 Indian Masters and will be joined by a multitude of Asian Tour stars ranging from 30 different nationalities.

Lahiri, who went and did a meditation course at the start of ths season, added, “Meditating has not only helped with my game but also made me a better person. It has put me more at peace with myself, the environment, my surroundings and with my family. That’s what’s reflecting on the golf course. I don’t think meditating has any direct effect on my game. I’m not losing my temper on the course, I’m much calmer and I accept whatever comes my way. The same things that would have upset me last year do not upset me anymore. I think those things are all contribution factors to me playing better golf.”

“Ideally the recommended routine is to do one hour of meditation in the morning and in the evening. Unfortunately, I’m not true to that routine. I try very hard to put in at least 45 minutes in a day. I don’t think it is sufficient but it gets really hard with the amount of travelling we do. I try my best to put in at least 45 minutes a day.”

American Ben Fox said, “My time in India has been fun. It has been a lot different each time. In the beginning it was definitely a tough adjustments coming here from the US. I’ve probably been here for four or five times and it has been a lot of fun.  Coming from the US is definitely a culture shock. It catches you off guard in the beginning. The food is very different but it is definitely an adventure. Especially for us, it feels like a wild and exciting place. It has been a lot of fun.

I had a really productive couple of months back home after the 2011 season. I came out with three top-10s earlier this year so that was nice. Like Anirban said, it is all about getting your first win to get to the next level. That’s where I want to go now.”

Chiragh, winner of the PGTI Order of Merit last year, said, “I haven’t really been in the best of form so far. I played well on the local circuit last week so I’m carrying in a bit of confidence. I’m hitting the ball quite well so hopefully I can carry the form I had at the Indian Open (finished second in the event last year) into this week. We grew up watching all these good Indian players playing here and they have inspired us to perform our best on this course.”

Another talented Thai on view will be Arnond Vongvanij. “It has been a good experience. It has been a little bit nerve-wracking here and there on Tour but the experience has been really good. Overall, I’m really enjoying myself. I learned (from playing the DGC at the SAIL-SBI Open last month) not to be intimated by the golf course. I got some experience on what kind of club I should bring so I can hit easier shots. Before coming here I didn’t know what to expect. This course is a lot about control so I have a two and three iron in my bag this week so I can keep my ball low and keep it the fairway.”

The Panasonic Open India, running in its second year, is also supported by the Ministry of Tourism India and the tournament will be beamed live over four rounds on the Asian Tour’s global platform next week.

The worldwide appeal of the Asian Tour stars and the rich heritage associated with India will be showcased throughout four days of the Panasonic Open India to over 200 countries and 650 million homes across the Live, Highlights, Magazine programmes and via the additional exposure generated by Golfing World.

Panasonic Open India is supporting the The Golf Foundation to raise funds for the underprivileged through birdie counts. The Golf Foundation is a Registered Charitable Society of golfers who want to give back to the game by helping a pool of untapped talent.

The Foundation has created very successful golfers like Ashok Kumar, Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa to name a few. Shubham Jaglan is presently on the Foundation. He is a seven-year-old prodigy who has won almost all events in his category.