Golfer Lahiri hopes to bounce back at PGA Championship

Mosel (Wisconsin), Aug 11 (IANS) He may have finished a lowly 53rd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week but leading Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri has said he has it in him to bounce back strongly at the PGA Championship, the fourth and final Major of the year, which begins here on Thursday.

“The game is feeling good. Bad back spasms did me in last Thursday unfortunately and I also had a tough time figuring out the greens,” the Asian Tour Order of Merit leader said in a release.

“I’ll be looking for a good start at Whistling Straits. Building momentum will be a key for me. I feel like a good week is around the corner. Mentally I really feel good, so I’m hoping for a strong week.”

A top result at the Whistling Straits course will reinforce the 28-year-old’s current ninth position on the International Team rankings for the Presidents Cup to face the US in South Korea this October. With the top-10 players as of September 8 qualifying automatically, Lahiri hopes to become the first Indian golfer to feature in the biennial team competition.

The players below him, including 2013 Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, are separated by a hair’s breadth which makes this week’s PGA Championship a make-or-break week for the Indian, who was victorious twice in February and was tied fifth in Switzerland last month.

“It would be fantastic if I can make the team,” said Lahiri, who was part of Team Asia which forced a thrilling 10-10 draw with Europe at the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia last year and contributed two out of three points.

Kiradech, who is ranked 13th on the International team standing, is also hoping to put on a strong showing at Whistling Straits.

He is in buoyant mood after winning the inaugural Paul Lawrie Matchplay event in Scotland two weeks ago, beating Sweden’s Robert Karlsson in the final, for his second title of the season.

The other Asian Tour members in the PGA Championship field include Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Australian Cameron Smith and honourary members Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Y.E. Yang, who made history by becoming the first Asian to win a Major at the 2009 PGA Championship.

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