Lahiri records best Indian finish at golf Majors

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Haven (Wisconsin), Aug 17 (IANS) Anirban Lahiri finished tied fifth following a superb four-under 68 in the fourth and final at the $10,000,000 97th Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship here to record the best-ever finish by an Indian at one of the four golf Majors.

World No.53 Lahiri, who had scores 70, 67 and 70 in the first three rounds respectively, took his 72-hole total to 13-under 275 — seven shots behind champion Jason Day of Australia. The 28-year-old Lahiri overshadowed the previous best-ever finish of Jeev Milkha Singh, who had taken the joint ninth spot at the PGA Championship in 2008.

The current Asian Tour leader had birdies on the first, fifth, sixth, ninth, 11th and 16th holes against two bogeys on the 10th and 18th for a 68 at the Whistling Straits course.

“I putted a lot better. But it’s obviously the scoring aspect that I feel is lacking a little bit. I think that’s where I need to tighten it up, just around the greens and make a few more 10 and 12-footers,” Lahiri said in a Asian Tour release.

“I was really in a good zone. I was playing well, I was hitting it good. I think the three-putt on 10 from five or six feet, I think that was like a kick in the stomach for me. It just knocked the wind out of me.

“Then I did really well to gather myself from a difficult position. But again, it was kind of disappointed to finish in the end. I think a couple of shots better would have got my card on the PGA Tour. So a little bummed about that.”

Lahiri played alongside Matt Kuchar, who also shot a closing 68 to finish one spot behind him.

“It’s been a fantastic week. I won’t really say I was in contention here because I was a long way out but I was in the mix. It’s a great feeling, it’s massive for me. It gives me so much confidence,” said Lahiri.

“It also tells me that I can compete with the best on the toughest courses and the best fields. It also tells me that I need to get just a little bit better and maybe I’ll be back here more often.”

A seven-time winner on the Asian Tour, Lahiri said his career-best finish in a Major will push him forward towards his ultimate goal of becoming a Major champion one day.

“This is more a pressure reliever than anything else, pressure from myself because I know I’m good enough to compete out here.

“But I’ve not seen anything that would suggest that and this week kind of puts that to rest. I can come out here and play more freely, not having to prove anything to myself,” said Lahiri, who has won four times in the past 18 months.

He has competed in seven majors, including all four this season. The Arjuna Awardee’s previous best show at a Major was a tied for 30th at the British Open earlier this year. He has been in excellent form this year, winning the Malaysian Open and the Indian Open in February.

World No.5 Day took home his first Major title with a final round score of 67. The Australian golfer’s total of 20-under 268 is a record at the Majors.

Reigning Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth finished three shots back in second place. Spieth, 22, is also in the record books; his 54-under-par total for 2015 Majors has never been matched.

Branden Grace (15-under 273) and Justin Rose (14-under 274) finished at the third and fourth positions respectively. World No.1 Rory McIlroy was 17th with a nine-under 279 total.

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