Lahiri all set to open 2021 with start at Sony Open in Hawaii

The Indian star arrives at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii after a break at home following a series of decent run of results in the fall, which included his first Top-10 finish on the PGA Tour in nearly two years.

By   |  Published: 13th Jan 2021  4:20 pmUpdated: 13th Jan 2021  5:10 pm

New Delhi: Anirban Lahiri, who has shown a liking for events on Island venues, will look forward to a solid start as he tees off at the Sony Open in the first full field event of 2021 on the PGA Tour. Returning to Hawaii for the fourth time Lahiri will aim for a strong start as he begins a run of at least three tournaments in a row.

The Indian star arrives at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii after a break at home following a series of decent run of results in the fall, which included his first Top-10 finish on the PGA Tour in nearly two years.

In recent months, Lahiri has done well on the Islands – he was T-6 at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic and T-11 in the Bermuda Championship. So he will be hoping Hawaii and the Sony Open could bring in some more good news and results.

Lahiri is excited about the Sony Open and said, “The schedule so far is looking good. At the moment, I should get into the first four (events) starting with Sony Open, then the American Express and then Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open), and hopefully (Waste Management Phoenix Open) Phoenix. Phoenix might be touch and go, but I think it’s the same week as Saudi (on the European Tour) so I think I should get in.”

His strong run towards the end of 2020 improved his rankings and that has translated into at least three or four straight weeks of action to start the New Year.

He added, “So yeah, I could actually continue playing but I think as of now, I’m planning on just playing the first four and let us see how it goes. I am feeling good with the game. And I would love to do well in Hawaii.”

The year 2020 was unlike any before in his life and it was the same. His form dipped and there were not enough tournaments, but the silver lining was that the status he had for 2020 was retained as per PGA Tour’s decision. “That was a big boost for many of us,” he said.

A truncated 2020 saw him miss four cuts in his first six starts before the Tour was halted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Lahiri, who had come to India to play the Hero Indian Open in March 2020, was forced to stay on in India as flights were suspended.

He laughs and says, ”It was tough for my golf, but not all that bad, because I got to spend a lot of time with my family, which I normally don’t get. Also I managed to get a lot of time with my coach, Vijay Divecha and work on my game and that helped.”

Lahiri returned to the US, but got only one more event before the 2019-20 season concluded. Then came the fall season and things turned for the better.

Starting with the Safeway Open he got in four starts and made cuts in all including T-6 in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and T-11 in the Bermuda Championship. “Those and a couple of other results indicated the game was in a good place. Then came another trip to India.”

“The (second) trip to India was good. I didn’t spend that much time with Vijay, but we kind of went over everything that we had done earlier and kind of consolidated some of the work. Also, it was nice to play some tournaments in Chandigarh and Jamshedpur (on the Indian Tour).”

Lahiri lost in the play-off at the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational in Chandigarh and capitalised on an invite into the season-ending Indian Tour event in Jamshedpur to finish T-11. “The golf was good, but I also put on weight in India, eating all the yummy food. It was generally a good time with family and friends,” he added.

So, when Lahiri came back to the US just before the calendar turned for 2021, he had to ‘rework’ a few things. “Since I’ve come back I’ve gotten back in the gym to get that weight off. So I was just trying to get back to my routine. Get in the gym; get on the range, play some golf and get myself prepared and ready to go. So, so far so good. It was a nice Christmas and New Year with my family and then some of our friends, Indian friends who live in America. So it was good. I think the last month or so has been good for me both on and off the golf course. And, you know, hoping that 2021 is a good year for everyone really, and also for golf in general.”