Sentosa (Singapore): Asian Tour chairman Kyi Hla Han yesterday lavished praise on Anirban Lahiri for his superb tied fifth finish at the prestigious PGA Championship, saying the Indian star will inspire a new generation of golfers in the region to take on the world.
Lahiri, 28, finished an impressive tied fifth at the year's final Major at Whistling Straits to sweeten a 2015 campaign which already includes two victories in Malaysia and India and commendable performances at the Masters Tournament and The Open.
"Anirban is one of our exceptional talents who have emerged from the Asian Tour in recent times. We've seen his career progress dramatically from his rookie season in 2008 till today and he has done very well. We are happy for his success," said Han.
"In the past three seasons, Anirban has finished 10th, third and second on our Order of Merit and he is currently the leader this season. It shows his consistency in performing at the highest level in Asia and I'm the least surprised to see how well he has performed in the Majors this season, especially at the just concluded PGA Championship.
"I believe Anirban will achieve more success internationally and he has the right credentials to lift a Major title in the very near future. He has the ability, the right work ethics and self-confidence to achieve this dream." After helping India win the team silver medal in the Asian Games in 2006, Lahiri joined the paid ranks in 2007 and eventually established himself in the sub-continent by winning for the first time on the PGTI Tour in 2009.
Following several other domestic tour victories, Lahiri then broke through on the Asian Tour in 2011, winning the Panasonic Open India and followed up with back-to-back wins at the SAIL Open, which were also staged in New Delhi in 2012 and 2013. He won his first Asian Tour title outside of the India at the 2014 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters before going on to win the Venetian Macau Open later in the year.
He maintained his form with further triumphs at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open in the space of three weeks in February. "Anirban has capitalised on the playing opportunities on the Asian Tour, first winning in our events on his home soil before going on to win around the region. He has indeed developed into a world-class player and the results are showing," said Han.
"The likes of Thongchai Jaidee, K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh have carried the Asian Tour's flag proudly on the world stage over the past decade and we are now witnessing a new generation of Asian golfers pushing themselves to the forefront of international golf.
"I am sure Anirban's exploits will inspire other Asian Tour golfers to have the self-belief that they too can perform well against the best players in the world abroad," added Han.