Lahiri appeals to Malaysian golf fans to cheer Team Asia

Shah Alam (Malaysia), Jan 12 (IANS) Indian star Anirban Lahiri on Tuesday appealed to Malaysian golf fans to come out in numbers and support Team Asia when they go into battle against Team Europe at the second edition of the EurAsia Cup starting here on Friday.

The newly-crowned Asian Tour Order of Merit champion believes the fans will be the team’s ‘13th’ member and will be decisive when they quest to beat Europe at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. The inaugural showdown ended in a thrilling 10-10 draw in 2014.

“I would really want to have a 13th member on the golf course with us, which is the crowd, the people of Kuala Lumpur and the people of Malaysia,” Lahiri, who won the Malaysian Open last year, said in an Asian Tour release.

“Come out and support us. We need you. It gives us the advantage of being at home, and that’s going to make a big difference come Sunday.”

The 28-year-old Lahiri is happy to return to familiar winning ground where his victory here at the start of last season ignited a magical run which saw him achieve numerous other feats, including a second title at the Hero Indian Open, a top-five at the PGA Championship, a debut appearance at the Presidents Cup and earning a PGA Tour card.

“Personally, the EurAsia Cup is a very important event for me. I started to gain a little more confidence and momentum after the event,” said Lahiri, now ranked 43rd in the world.

“My personal performance on the last two days, Saturday and Sunday, really helped my self-belief. I’ve taken that over the last 34 months, and obviously it’s been fantastic for me,” added the Bengaluru golfer, who contributed two points from out of three matches in 2014.

He believes this year’s Team Asia, which includes six players in the world’s top-60, was stronger than the inaugural side.

“I think the first really good sign is that Europe has sent a much stronger team. So what does that tell you? It tells you that we are strong enough and they are not going to take any chances. They thought they would send a ‘B Street’ team and roll over us and that didn’t happen. That raised a lot of eyebrows,” he said.

“Moving on, obviously two years later, I think the Asian Team is a lot stronger than it was two years back. So if the Europeans have sent a stronger team, it’s because they know that we are stronger, as well. So our job here is to play our best and to get 12 and a half points and I think the entire team believes that we can do that.”

The EurAsia Cup will feature 24 matches, with day one showcasing six Fourball matches, followed by six Foursomes matches and 12 Singles matches on the third day.

The winning team will share prize money of $3.6 million while the runners-up will share $1.2 million.

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