Recharged Lahiri targets strong return with eye on THE PLAYERS Championship
Hilton Head, South Carolina, April 11: A rejuvenated Anirban Lahiri returns to prime-time action on the PGA TOUR after a three-week break, eager to start contending in tournaments again instead of making up the numbers.
The Indian star tees up at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town in Hilton Head on Thursday, an event which saw him finish T44 in 2015 and last season. He is hoping some refining work on his game with coach Vijay Divecha recently will see a change in his golfing fortunes following a lean spell.
“We’ve been working on some issues that I’ve faced on the golf course as I’ve been erratic with my ball striking and with my iron play. I’ve found a lot of fairways than I usually do but I haven’t hit as many greens as I would like and it’s not been close enough,” said Lahiri, who is ranked a 168th on TOUR for Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green analysis.
“Although I’ve made a lot of cuts, I’ve finished almost dead last a few times, and it’s felt like I had to grind a lot. It’s not been as free-flowing as I think it should be and it’s been a lot of hard work. I seem to have put in too much effort to play some of these weekends which is terrible. While it’s good to play four days in any tournament, I have to say it’s been below par.”
The former Asian Tour No. 1 started the 2017/18 season strongly with top-10 finishes at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea last October where he contended for his first PGA TOUR title at both events. He also enjoyed a T14 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in December but since then, his best outing was a T26 at the Genesis Open.
“The main area has been the scoring. I’ve not shot a lot of rounds in the 60s, which is a clear indication that some departments are letting me down,” said Lahiri, who has shot 10 rounds in the 60s out of 34 rounds this season.
“We’ve spent a few days focusing on the scoring aspect which is very important. That’s required when I go back out there and contending in tournaments.”
Lahiri was disappointed to miss the first two World Golf Championships events of the year and the opening major at the Masters Tournament last week but has cast his eye on THE PLAYERS Championship, the PGA TOUR’s flagship tournament at TPC Sawgrass, from May 10 to 13.
“It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year for any professional golfer, not just for those on the PGA TOUR,” said Lahiri, who is currently ranked 90th on the FedExCup standings.
“Those who have the opportunity to play will grab it with both hands. It’s an unbelievable field. It’s got the best players in the world, and is as strong as any major. That’s what you want to do which is to play in the best events with best fields, and that’s what THE PLAYERS is all about.
“TPC Sawgrass is a phenomenal golf course. I think it’s a great venue, it’s just fantastic. It’s a great place to have a really good week. It’s positioned at a time when it signals the second half of the season. It’s a great test of golf as there is some amount of length to the course, you need to control the ball flight as it can get windy there, and it’s a good test of your patience. It’s a proper test of golf,” said Lahiri, who missed the cut at THE PLAYERS in 2015 and 2017.