Thursday, February 23, 2012


New Delhi: India’s Anirban Lahiri will have his father to thank if he continues to put up another commanding performance at the SAIL-SBI Open this week.
Lahiri’s decision to switch to a belly putter due to his father’s persistent nagging paid off when he posted a three-under-par 69 to take the second round lead at the Delhi Golf Club.
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat blitzed the tree-lined course with a 64 to take second place on eight-under-par 136 while India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg are a further shot back in equal third on 137.
Lahiri, who earned his career breakthrough at the Delhi Golf Club last season, continued his charge for his second Asian Tour title after another inspired round that was aided by a hot putter in his bag.
“My dad started to harp on me to use the belly putter because he’s always up at night watching the guys on the PGA Tour playing with the belly putter on television. It got to the point where I just gave in to him and I thought I give it a try,” said Lahiri.
“As my putting with my short putter got worse, I decided to make the switch to the belly putter in Hong Kong last year. Since then, I’ve worked a lot on my techniques with it and so far it’s getting better. Hopefully it keeps going in that direction,” added the Indian.
 While the 23-year-old may have taken pole position with a two-shot cushion, he knows that the contest is far from over given the quality of his closest rivals.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge. Regardless of how everyone plays or whether I’ve the lead or not, I’m happy with the way I’ve played over the last two days and I’m happy with the way I’m hitting the golf ball. I’m confident that I can do well,” said the leader.
Prom continued his resurgence by marking his card with nine birdies against a lone bogey to record the day’s lowest score of 64.
The Thai, who started the day in tied-45th place following an opening 72, opened strongly with two birdies.
He carded another birdie on the eighth hole but dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four ninth.
Prom then storm home with a birdie blitz where he marked his card with birdies on holes 11, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 18.
“I hit it very well yesterday but just couldn’t make the putts. But today, everything was on my side. I was hoping to hit under-par when I got out there today and it’s amazing that I managed to get a 64,” said Prom.
“My putting was very good especially on this course where you have to put the ball on the fairway to give yourself birdie chances. I’ll try to do well again over the weekend by sticking with my game plan,” added the Thai.
Karlberg got off to the best of starts with two birdies in his opening three holes. However, he returned those two shots with bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes.
After turning in 36, the two-time Asian Tour winner birdied the par-five first but bogeyed holes four and five.
 The Swede however staged a strong comeback with three birdies in his closing four holes coming home.
 “I started off really good. I sunk a seven-iron on my second hole (11th) today and that gave me a lot of confidence to get the round going. But I lost my tempo after that and found the bushes with a couple of my shots,” said Karlberg.
 “It was nice to make a comeback with three birdies in the last four holes. I’m getting the good vibes here and hopefully I’ll continue to get that over the weekend,” added the Swede.
A total of 65 players made it into the weekend rounds where the cut was set at one-over par 145. Banchory's James Byrne and England's Stephen Lewton both made it on the maximum mark, both scoring 72-73.
Ross Bain (Scotland) 73-74 for 147, and Guy Woodman (England) 77-72 for 149 missed the cut. 
The SAIL-SBI Open is the second of the four events scheduled to be played in India on the Asian Tour this season.
Par 144 (2x72). Yardage 6,935
134 - Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 65-69.
136 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 72-64.
137 - Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 67-70, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-69.
138 - Manav JAINI (IND) 68-70, Vinod KUMAR (IND) 70-68.
139 - Shamim KHAN (IND) 71-68, Scott BARR (AUS) 71-68, Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA) 71-68.
140 - Mithun PERERA (LKA) 71-69, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 74-66, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 73-67, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 70-70, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-71, Ben FOX (USA) 70-70.
141 - Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 72-69, Randhir GHOTRA (IND) 70-71, P. Ghulfam (IND) 73-68, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 70-71,  SIDDIKUR (BAN) 74-67, Scott HEND (AUS) 68-73, Ron HARVEY Jnr (CAN) 66-75, Harmeet KAHLON (IND) 70-71, Abhinav LOHAN (IND) 70-71.
145 James Byrne (Scotland) 72 73, Stephen Lewton (England) 72 73.
147 Ross Bain (Scotland) 73 74.
149 Guy Woodman (England) 77 72.



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