Indian golf star Anirban Lahiri will recharge his batteries over the next two weeks before launching another attempt to reel in Asian Tour’s Order of Merit leader David Lipsky of the United States.
Talented Lahiri endured a disappointing tied 33rd finishing at the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup on Sunday as he continued to trail Lipsky by over US$323,000 in the race to become Asia’s number one.
With the region’s premier Tour heading to the US$650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters this week, the 27-year-old Lahiri has opted to head home for a break after being on the road for the past four weeks.
“It was a disappointing week. I came in playing really well (he finished top-five in his previous two events) and was in good form but it was a bit difficult to adjust. I got a tough draw in the first two days and I think I might have played too much golf. I need to take some time off,” said Lahiri, who has accumulated US$342,689 thanks largely to a win at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters and five top-10s this season.
“My body’s feeling it and my mind’s feeling it too. I’m looking forward to going home. I need to get fresh. Two weeks is ideal as I need to be playing my best especially for the Hong Kong Open, CIMB Classic and HSBC Champions.”
Lahiri is hopeful of catching Lipsky, who was triumphant at the Omega European Masters earlier this month, and will spend time ironing out some minor flaws in his game back home.
“I’m heading home, rest and work on the game with my coach especially on the areas which haven’t been on the mark. Hopefully I’ll come back stronger. There’s still a long way to go in the Merit chase. Honestly, David’s way ahead right now and the gap is wide. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the field plays and for myself, I’ve to play really well in the coming weeks if I’m going to threaten him. But I think I’m playing well and I just got to come back and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
Lipsky settled for tied 56th position in Japan on Sunday and continues to lead the rankings with US$665,725. Like Lahiri, the Korean-American will take a two-week break before returning to Tour action in the Hong Kong Open.
American Jason Knutzon emerged as one of the biggest movers on the latest Merit list, thanks to his impressive tied second finish in Japan which saw him earn US$108,645. He moved up from 15th to third place on the rankings with US$184,676 and has put himself in a great position to qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia next month and US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November.
“Plenty of positives for me this week, considering how tired I was coming into Japan. I wasn’t playing particularly well. I was surprised that I was actually playing that well. But it was good. I thought I had a chance there but had a poor finish,” said Knutzon.
“I’ll try to have a good week in Taipei this week as getting a spot into the CIMB Classic is my goal. Then there’s the Hong Kong Open where I have to at least try to get into the mix and play good golf. Hopefully things will turn the corner. We’re really kicking off the second half of the season with lots of events and it should be an exciting period. I just want to play good again and see what happens,” added the two-time Asian Tour winner.
A tied-fifth finish in Japan consolidated Baek Seuk-hyun’s position in the top-10 of the Order of Merit but the Thai-based Korean is not resting on his laurels in his bid to qualify for the CIMB Classic, co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, again.
“I don’t want to think about whether I can get into the big events or not because I don’t want to give myself any pressure. I just want to enjoy my game,” said the happy-go-lucky Baek.
As of October 20, the leading-10 players on the Order of Merit will qualify for the CIMB Classic while the leading four will earn places in the HSBC Champions.
Pos. Player Order of Merit Earnings (US$)
1. David LIPSKY (USA) 665,725
2. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 342,689
3. Jason KNUTZON (USA) 184,676
4. Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 161,008
5. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 160,365
6. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 159,947
7. BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 157,428
8. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 146,145
9. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 118,356
10. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 117,164
11. Cameron SMITH (AUS) 115,629
12. S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) 107,412
13. Richard T. LEE (CAN) 97,438
14. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 96,254
15. Rashid KHAN (IND) 91,677
16. Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 79,879
17. Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 75,185
18. Marcus BOTH (AUS) 74,073
19. Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 71,632
20. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 69,770