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Rediff.com  » Sports » Lahiri retains title after play-off at SAIL-SBI Open

Lahiri retains title after play-off at SAIL-SBI Open

March 09, 2013 18:19 IST

India's Anirban Lahiri successfully defended his title at the SAIL-SBI Open following a thrilling play-off victory over compatriot Rashid Khan in New Delhi on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Lahiri birdied the 18th hole from 10 feet in regulation play to force extra-time and then claimed his third Asian Tour win with a four-foot birdie conversion on the same hole at the Delhi Golf Club.

Anirban LahiriKhan, 22, gave himself a great chance of a maiden title on the region's premier Tour with a superb final round of six-under-par 66, which included a closing birdie, but he could not prevent a dominant Lahiri, who signed off with a 68.

Overnight leader Siddikur of Bangladesh closed with a disappointing 73 to finish third, four shots behind the play off duo.

Shiv Kapur of India settled for fourth place after a 70, while Thailand's Pawin Ingkhapradit and Australian rookie Matthew Stieger ended in tied fifth place.

"It's not sunk in. I'm still in disbelief that I made the putt in regulation and got into the play-off. After that, in the next 15 minutes, I didn't know what happened," he said.

"Unfortunately for Rashid, it didn't work out for him. I feel bad for him as he doesn't have a card on the Asian Tour. He's got a bright future ahead of him," added Lahiri, who ended the week on 15-under-par 273 with Khan.

The final round of the USD 300,000 event, which is part of the Asian Tour's milestone 10th season celebration in 2013, was a nail-biting affair with Khan and Lahiri exchanging leads on the back nine.

Khan, playing in the penultimate group, brilliantly birdied his 72nd hole from three feet but could do very little as Lahiri coolly matched his closing birdie from 10 feet to force the play-off.

Lahiri, who grabbed the winner's cheque of $54,000, was overjoyed to taste victory for the third time at the demanding Delhi course, which he disliked early on in his career.

"I feel great winning here again. In regulation play standing over the 10-footer, I took my time and decided what I wanted to do. I think this is the calmest I've ever been in that situation," said Lahiri.

Khan, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment, saying, "I played really good. Holed good putts and played really well this week. Starting with a par 72 on the first day and losing in a play-off, it's disappointing.

"In the play-off, I just misread my third shot and hit it too far right (to 15 feet of the flag). I wasn't too sure of the line and hit it a bit right. I was expecting Anirban to make birdie in regulation. He's won here twice before and I knew it was going to be a play-off. I was prepared for it but it didn't work out."

Siddikur, who has three top-fives at the course in the past two seasons, started brilliantly with two opening birdies to cement his lead early on but four bogeys in his next seven holes derailed his hopes of a second Asian Tour title.

"Today, I was totally off. My hitting was bad. From the centre of the fairway, I made three bogeys on four, 13 and 17. The balls were going too long.

"I saw Anirban and Rashid going up the leaderboard but I couldn't catch them. I couldn't make the birdies," said the Bangladeshi.

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