Sunday, October 24, 2021

Lahiri set for new season with a PGA Tour among his immediate goals

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Jackson, Mississippi, Sep 29 (IANS) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri is all set to open his 2021 campaign at the Sanderson Farms Championship here on Thursday. Lahiri, who in a last gasp effort managed to make the Top-125 and qualify for the FedExCup and also keep his Tour card.

Lahiri plays his first two rounds with Russell Knox and JJ Spain. “I skipped last week (Fortinet Championship) and then came the Ryder Cup. Now leading up to next week (Sanderson) with all the preparations and time off I am hoping I can hit the ground running,” Lahiri said.

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“Yeah I mean I have lots of objectives, lots of targets in the coming season. I need to start checking off my list of things that I need to achieve that have kind of got piled up now over the last few years so time to get some of those things checked off the list,” he admitted.

One of them is very obviously winning his first PGA Tour title despite having been on it since 2015. He has even been runner-up and in the just concluded season he was T3 at Barbasol. So, he just needs to get that final step done.

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Lahiri has checked in for the first two events – Sanderson Farms and Shriners Hospital. He is unlikely to get into the limited field event, the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship, but will surely play as many events early in the season to get set when 2022 starts.

Lahiri has admitted that keeping his card was at the back of his mind even as he prepared for the Olympics after finishing T-3 at the Barbasol Championship. With the Tour still having a tournament after the Olympics and Lahiri missing an event due to the Olympics, there was always an element of risk, but Lahiri survived.

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“Sure keeping the card is a goal for every player,” said Lahiri, who had come through the Korn Ferry Tour final series route before the pandemic.

Asked how did he take the break in between the two seasons he said, “So the first part of the time in-between the seasons was spent in some family times, and some downtime and rest. The last two and a half weeks or so I have gotten back in the gym; have started working out a little bit more trying to work on endurance as much as possible. At the same time, I am trying to keep an eye on all my parameters and trying to follow post covid guidelines. I am recovering my strength and have been in touch with my coach Vijay Divecha as well and just trying to get back into the same rhythm that I had found towards the end of the season last year.”

The leading the Asian challenger is Korea’s KH Lee who takes his bow in the PGA TOUR’s 2021-22 season at this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship with three clear goals in his mind – secure a second TOUR victory, break into the world’s top-50 and qualify for the International Team to compete in the 2022 Presidents Cup against the United States.



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