Hoylake, England, July 18: An ailing Anirban Lahiri of India bowed out of The Open Championship with a second straight three-over-par 75 on Friday.
The current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader contemplated pulling out before the start of his second round at Royal Liverpool after struggling to shake off the effects of viral fever, which has lingered since the start of the week.
“I would have pulled out if this was a normal tour event,” said a dejected Lahiri, who was making his second appearance in the world’s oldest Major.
“I’m feeling terrible. Bad fever and body ache all day. I was contemplating whether to play or not. I didn’t want to pull out as I wanted to walk down the 18th and see the Indian flag once more. It was hard, it was very hard. I thought about pulling out for a long time but my manager and the family that I’m staying with had a chat with me and I’m glad that I played.”
Under tough conditions, Lahiri dropped three bogeys and one double bogey but managed to sink two birdies, including one on the last hole. The Indian, who has won once this season and posted three more top-10s on the Asian Tour, said he wasn’t sure if he would conclude his round under the steamy conditions.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to finish. On the seventh and eighth, I was totally out of it. Somehow I kept going. I’m glad I did as it’s been fantastic,” said the 27-year-old.
“I spoke to my dad (who is a doctor) over the phone, I’ve had fever since Monday and it’s some sort of viral as it keeps returning every night as I get the shivers and body aches. I’ve been taking paracetamol and that has helped me play two days.”
Despite the disappointment of having to take an early flight home, Lahiri said he would learn from the experience of competing at the highest level when his body wasn’t 100 per cent.
“It’s a great experience. I still played quite decently on the back nine. I did make some mistakes and could have shot a better round. I’m proud of that. I’m glad that I did what I did as this will go into the experience kitty and it’ll help me grind it out in the future. Today was tough,” said Lahiri.
“By the front nine, I was pretty much spent. I had used up all the energy I had. I was having bananas, granola bars and energy drinks right through to keep more going. I started feeling it on 11, 12 and whenever I had an opportunity I would sit down. It was tough on the back nine as I had get up the slopes. I told my caddie to get ahead of me and to just tell me the yardage when I got there.
“This experience would make me want to get back to the Open again. It’s been two contrasting Opens for me and I think I have learned a lot from both,” added Lahiri, who finished tied 31st in the Major debut in 2012.
Next up for Lahiri is a first appearance at the US PGA Championship next month and the Indian star, who is ranked 86th in the world, hopes to recover sufficiently to put in a worthy performance.
“I’ve got to recover from this quickly. I’ve been on the run for the past few months (having to cut short his honeymoon to get to the Open). At least mentally I’ll be ready, and I hope to get stronger for that. Hopefully I will be in much better shape,” said Lahiri.
Source: Asian Tour