Calcutta/ Lytham St Annes: Anirban Lahiri emerged as the best Asian golfer at the 141st Open Championships despite a final round of 73, his highest of the week to finish at three-over 283 that left him in tied 31st place in the world’s oldest Major.
Earlier, Jeev Milkha Singh also shot a final round 73 to finished at 10-over 290 in tied 69th place.
Lahiri’s finish put him alongside Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler and better than former Open champions Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, ranked second and third in the world respectively.
“I won’t be intimidated anymore. If I can come here and hold my ground, I can hold it in any event and any field looking into the future,” said Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
“It’s been a great experience and I am glad I came here in May with my coach, Vijay Divecha. It gave me a chance to look and prepare for this course. It was a smart decision instead of coming 10-12 days before the event and tire myself out,” added Lahiri, who came close to the best finish by an Indian at the Open, a record held by Jyoti Randhawa at tied 27th back in 2004.
The 25-year-old from Bangalore has been a different player ever since he started meditating. His longest session was three hours, while he spends about 20 minutes each day when he is at a tournament.
“The benefit that I have derived from my meditation is that I’m able to stay in the present," Lahiri said. “That is what everyone talks about, hit one shot at a time and we all wonder how to do it.”
Earlier, in the morning Jeev finished his campaign rather tamely with a three-over 73 that ended with a double bogey on the 18th. He had finished long before Lahiri had teed up for the final round. Jeev’s 73 saw him end the week at 10-over 280 and in tied 73rd place.
Lahiri missed the green on the first and opened the day with a bogey but then played very steady golf with eight pars in a row.
Lahiri missed a lot of makeable putts, but overall he said: “I am very happy with the week and I am a better golfer than when I started off on Thursday.”
His experience of playing with three PGA Tour players also gave him the confidence that he could play with the best.
“Today I played with Nick Watney, he’s been in the top-10 in the world. It was nice to have a chat with him,” Lahiri said.