New Delhi: Anirban Lahiri’s incredible victory at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters catapulted him from world No. 102 to a career-high of No. 67 in the Official World Golf Ranking, released on Monday.
Lahiri, who is now also the Asian Tour No. 1, had achieved his previous best ranking of 99, in March this year. The 26-year-old, who raised his season’s earnings to $192,150, says he has now set himself another goal of maintaining the numero uno position till the end of this season.
“It feels great to be top on the Asian Tour Order of Merit right now. One of my goals at the beginning of this year was to contend for the Order of Merit. I am glad I got off to a good start,” said Lahiri.
“I just have to keep focusing on playing good golf and keep getting better as the year progresses.”
The highest-ranked Indian in the world at the moment, Lahiri has also become the second-highest ranked Asian player after Thongchai Jaidee who is at No. 49.
Since joining the Asian Tour in 2008, the talented Indian has enjoyed a meteoric rise where he won three titles on home soil before his Indonesian triumph and Lahiri said the victory meant a lot to him.
“I needed the world ranking points so I am really happy I won. I think I played much better than my score. I hit the ball well all week. I played really solid and this victory means a lot to me,” he added.
Last month, Lahiri contributed immensely for Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia in the memorable draw with Europe where he contributed two points.
Two weeks after the Ryder Cup style event, Lahiri was again in the spotlight when he finished equal 10th at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
“The EurAsia Cup was a very special event for me. I am happy to see my game go up another level after the EurAsia Cup. It was a huge confidence booster,” he said.
Besides Jeev Milkha Singh, no other Indian golfer has been ranked higher than No. 67. Jeev had achieved his career-best ranking of No. 29 back in 2009. Among other two Indians, who had previously broken into the top-100, are Jyoti Randhawa (No. 70) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (No. 85).
At present, Shiv Kapur at No. 154 is next best-ranked Indian in the world, followed by Gaganjeet Bhullar at No. 173.
Lahiri’s fourth win on the Asian Tour and first outside India, brings him closer to his personal goal of top-50 in world rankings, which would then get him a berth in the Majors.
Currently, if he manages to get inside top-60 or ties on May 26 or June 9, 2014, Lahiri will get a berth into the US Open at the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Lahiri could also get a last-minute berth into the British Open, if he manages to squeeze inside top-50 by May 21, 2014, which means he has the Championship in Singapore, which is co-sanctioned with Europe, and the Philippines Open over the next four weeks.
Further the PGA Championships, the fourth and last Major each year, usually invites all top-100 players, not otherwise qualified, on the world ranking list. For that he needs to stay in the top-100 till the week before the PGA, which will be held from August 4.