Lahiri expects big challenge for home golfers at Indian Open 2017

Indo Asian News Service

Gurugram, March 3 (IANS) Ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri on Friday said the Gary Player-designed DLF Golf and Country Club here, which is hosting the Hero Indian Open, might not see a leaderboard with several Indian names.

Lahiri said the course here is more European-style with more open and longer holes unlike Delhi Golf Club (DGC) in New Delhi, which earlier was the host of the $1.75 million tournament.

"I would say it would not be as Indian dominated if the event was held at Delhi Golf Club. DLF is more parkland and more like the European-style courses. It's going to be more open and longer holes, not as demanding off the tee as with DGC. You might not see a leaderboard littered with Indian names. But It'll be great to keep the Indian Open in India," Lahiri said.

"It's 18 new holes which won't be the same as to what we've played on previously. I don't know what to expect. I'll be playing it the first time when I get there," he added.

Lahiri, along with Scott Hend and Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be looking at strong performances to give themselves a chance to tee up at the year's first Major, Augusta Masters next month.

The 2015 Asian Tour No.1 Lahiri, who played the Masters last two years, is currently at the 73rd spot, while Hend is ranked five spots higher than the Indian at 68th.

Kiradech is at the 81st spot. They need to break into the top-50 the week prior to the Masters to qualify.

Lahiri, whose seven Asian Tour titles, include two co-sanctioned with Europe, said: "The win is definitely up there. It's one of the most special feelings. We call it our fifth Major. It's as special as any other victories but maybe it ranks above everything else that I've done."

Lahiri and Chawrasia have been at the forefront of the title for last three years are keen to keep that going as they take on the best from Asia and Europe.

But even their own Indian colleagues will be a tough challenge. Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won on Asian Tour twice last year, in-form youngster Shubhankar Sharma, who has not finished below T-11 in his last four starts, are in great shape and Shiv Kapur T-12 in Malaysia.

The tournament will run March 9-12.

--IANS

gau/pur/vm