Lahiri lands eagle on final hole to win Indonesian Masters


Jakarta: Anirban Lahiri holed a sensational 20-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to grab his fourth Asian Tour title and the first outside India at the CIMB Indonesian Masters on Sunday.

Lahiri, who will get married next month, fought back from a double bogey on 13th as he leapfrogged from second to go past the clubhouse leader, Baek Seuk-Hyun of Korea (65), who finished at 16-under.

Lahiri (68) finished at 17-under after rounds of 70, 69, 64 and 68 and was one shot clear of Baek and Cameron Smith (70).

Lahiri, ranked 102 in World rankings at the start of the week should move inside top-75 when the rankings are released on Monday. He is currently the top Indian in world rankings. He will also move to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit. It was Lahiri’s fourth win and he has now won each year since 2011 and the only Indians with more Asian Tour wins than him are Jyoti Randhawa (8), Arjun Atwal (7), Jeev Milkha Singh (6) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (5).

It has been a series of consistent performances from Lahiri, who was tied eighth at SAIL-SBI Open and then tied 10th at Maybank Malaysian Open. He also won two points for Team Asia last month at the inaugural EurAsia Cup, including a singles win over World top-30 player Victor Dubuisson of France.

Making it a great outing for Indian golf were SSP Chowrasia (68), who was in contention for a brief while before ending tied fifth at 14-under and Rashid Khan (71), who won his maiden Asian Tour title last month at SAIL-SBI Open, had a topsy-turvy day with five birdies and four bogeys and finished tied ninth at 13-under.

Jyoti Randhawa (70) was also looking at a long shot as he found five birdies in a space of six holes between fifth and 10th, but then three bogeys between 11th and 14th ended his hopes and he finished in a tie for 13th.

Rahil Gangjee (70) was tied 22nd and Arjun Atwal, who had one eagle on 18th and a birdie on sixth ended tied 39th.

Starting the day at second place, Lahiri moved into the lead with three birdies in a row from second to fourth and despite a bogey on fifth, he sank another birdie on 12th to stay in lead.

But Baek, who started the day with five birdies in a row, and Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei looked like pulling the rug from under Lahiri’s feet.

Just as Lin dropped out of contention with two bogeys and a double between 14th and 17th, Lahiri’s playing partner and overnight leader rookie Cameron Smith from Australia fought his way back from a disastrous front nine of three-over 39 with four birdies between 11th and 16th.

He joined Lahiri at 15-under in second place as Baek went to the putting green to get ready for a play-off after closing at 16-under.

Both Smith and Lahiri were on the green in two and had long eagle putts. Smith missed his putt and got a birdie, while Lahiri found the cup from 20 feet to leave Baek and Smith stranded at 16-under as the Indian jumped ahead to 17-under.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68) was fourth, while veteran Thongchai Jaidee (64) had nine birdies against one bogey to tie for fifth with Chowrasia (68), Jazz Janewattananond (67) and Lin Wen-tang (68) at 14-under.

A double-bogey six on 13 after a lengthy three-hour rain delay saw Lahiri ride out a tense finish as a host of marquee players from the Asian Tour were wrestling for the lead then.

“I had an awkward lie on 13. During the rain delay I was just thinking that I have to get up and down there. I got a bad break there but I know Lin Wen-tang dropped a shot as well. Unfortunately I got a double bogey there but I am glad I came back strong,” said Lahiri.

With Baek holding the clubhouse lead at 16-under, Lahiri knew he had to produce a superlative effort on 18 to get the outright win.

“My mind was blank when I prepared for the last putt on 18. All I told myself was I had to get it into the hole. When I was walking up to the greens, I was actually thinking if I need to prepare for a playoff tomorrow morning,” said Lahiri.

Lahiri screamed in delight when he watched his 20-ft eagle putt sink into the hole for a winning total of 17-under-par 271.

“It’s really great to get my first win outside of India. I have missed out on it for a long time and I am so glad I managed to do it today. I need the world ranking points so I am really happy I can win this week,” said Lahiri.