Indian Sports News Network: Lytham St Annes: Anirban Lahiri will be counting on his meditation practice to lead him to a successful debut at The Open Championship which begins on Thursday. The 25-year-old two-time Asian Tour winner is excited at the prospects of tackling the world’s oldest Major which is star-laden at Royal Lytham and St Annes but knows he must maintain an even keel to ensure a rewarding week. “I’ll stick to my meditation and stay in the moment and not get carried away and focus on what I need to do. It’ll play a critical role. Times of great highs and low, the mind gets muddled and unclear. I have to rely on meditation as it’ll only do me good,” said Lahiri. Lahiri has been meditating for the past few years, saying the longest he has done was three hours while he spends about 20 minutes each day while he is at a tournament. The key benefit of the practice is simply staying in the present, he said. “The benefit that I have derived from my meditation is that I’m able to stay in the present. That’s what everyone talks about, hit one shot at a time and we all wonder how to do it. The meditation has taught me to block out the scoreboard, what the group in front is doing or how far back or ahead I am. All those things kind of get sidetracked and the focus comes back to what I need to do. That’s what meditation helps me to do,” he explained. “It’s like a process, like an exercise. You can be in that state during the round depending on how strong your practices are. If you can put yourself in that state, you can go through 18 holes in your own world without being affected by what’s around you. That’s what really helps.” Lahiri arrived in the English coastal town on Saturday and has put in three practice rounds at the famous links. While others may have cringed when the rain and winds swept in earlier in the week, the Indian relished the tough conditions which are synonymous with The Open. “I’m enjoying the weather so far. A lot of people here whom I’ve met are not comfortable in this condition but I’m feeling at home. I expected the course as tough as it’s been set up. Leading into the event, I’m feeling good,” said Lahiri, who is one of two Indians in the field aside from newly crowned Scottish Open champion Jeev Milkha Singh. “I’m hitting it good. I’m happy with my equipment set up, I’m feeling very comfortable.” In late May, the amiable India made a visit to Royal Lytham and St Annes and played for several practice rounds. However, he said being here during The Open week was simply magical. “The atmosphere is beautiful, the people come out here despite the rain and cold and you see families out with their kids in strollers. It’s a pleasure to be here and be part of a beautiful event. I’m hoping I can put in a good performance to make it better,” he said. Lahiri is happy his father has accompanied him for his maiden Major. “Dad’s always been the guy behind the scenes. He’s the one to give me some insight into how I’m playing. He’ll provide the perspective of a third party. If he notices something, he will share with me and ask me to think about it. Sometimes that’s what it takes to save a shot or two or to get your attitude right. “I’m glad he’s here. I know he’s having a great time and it makes me happy as well. He’s taking good care of me. He’s always full of wise words.”
Learning to meditate seems to be paying off for India’s Shiv Kapur as he prepares for the upcoming Ballantine’s Championship in Korea.
The talented Indian will head to Korea, sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korean Golf Tour, with his confidence sky high after finishing joint third at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters presented by PNTS on Sunday.
It was Kapur’s best finish on the Asian Tour in nearly 18 months and his cheque of US$41,362 has pushed him up to 16th place on the latest Order of Merit, which is led by South African Jbe Kruger.
“I just want to build …
Indian star Anirban Lahiri will be banking on meditation to guide him to a successful title defence at the Panasonic Open India which starts on Thursday.
The in-form Lahiri will lead an international cast of Asian Tour stars at the Delhi Golf Club which includes Ben Fox of the United States, Prom Meesawat of Thailand, the highest ranked player this week, Siddikur of Bangladesh and Indian-specialist Rikard Karlberg of Sweden.
Lahiri credited his meditation for his superb form this year where he won his second Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open at the same venue last month and qualified for his maiden …
Lim Teik Huat, The Star: Asian Tour legends, a history maker and rising stars from the region are poised to light up the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world’s 72-hole scoring record, and compatriot Thaworn Wiratchant, an 11-time winner in Asia, will spearhead the elite field in the tournament at the Seri Selangor Golf Club from Aug 4-7.
The Thai duo will be joined in the RM1.2mil event by a pack of talented players, including youngsters Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri of India, Singaporean Quincy Quek and Malaysia’s Akhmal Tarmizee.
Chapchai has been one of Asia’s most exciting players to emerge in recent years and he cemented his place in history by winning the SAIL Open in India last year with a stunning four-round total of 32-under 256.
The big-hitting 27-year-old Thai, nicknamed King Kong, is eager to challenge for a fourth career victory at the Selangor Masters.
“My season started slowly earlier in the year but my form has improved,” said Chapchai.
“I tried to make some swing changes after my victory at the SAIL Open but I couldn’t get used to it. My swing is feeling more comfortable now and I’m confident of doing well.”
While he has yet to miss a cut this season, Chapchai’s best performance was tied 13th at the Queens Cup on home soil in June.
He is also relying on his constant meditation to keep an even keel in his hopes for more glory at the Selangor Masters.
“Meditation helps me to keep my focus and that helps in my overall game. I hope to do my best,” said Chapchai, who finished second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007.
Bhullar is highly regarded as one of the future stars to emerge from India. He lived up to expectations by claiming a second Asian Tour victory at the season-opening Asian Tour International in Thailand.
His best finish in the Selangor Masters was a tied-32nd place last season and he will be looking forward to better his results.
Thaworn, who has won two Asian Tour titles in Malaysia, is in fine form.
He has missed only one cut this season and will be determined to make amends for not getting to play four rounds at the Selangor Masters last year.
Australia’s Marcus Both, winner of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open last year, is hoping to turn his season around. The two-time Asian Tour winner has missed four cuts thus far.
George Murray used principles of meditation to produce his second four-under-par 67 over the Macdonald Spey Valley course and claim the halfway lead in the Scottish Hydro Challenge.
The 27-year-old former Scottish amateur champion from Anstruther who has yet to enjoy his first triumph as a professional has been reading a book called Zen Golf, the same one that helped Vijay Singh to become a major champion.
“It chills me out. I approach every shot as though it has no relevance,” said the Fifer who enhances his eastern leanings by practising yoga in winter. “I stand over four-footers thinking they’re not important. If I miss then it’s not the end of the world.”
Just as unimportant is the matter of money and Murray earned around £40,000 for finishing third earlier this season in the Madeira Islands Open.
“I needed that because I was skint at the beginning of the year, but it hasn’t made the difference between playing in tournaments or not. I’d have just rolled up debt on the credit card,” he said with a shrug. “You are looking at £1000 a week on tour.”
That big prize was on the European Tour. This week is a developmental tournament, a step down on the Challenge Tour, and the prize for coming first is £27,000 and he heads Germany’s Christoph Gunther, Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson and England’s Lee Slattery by a stroke.
“I am just going to go out tomorrow, hit it, find it and go round in as few strokes as possible,” said Murray. “I don’t really think about winning, I just want to let it happen. That’s the Zen Golf talking. I was in the last group for the last two days in Madeira so I have been up there.”
Yesterday he opened with a drive, pitch and carefree four-footer for birdie and followed that with four more of the same. Naturally, he was unconcerned at his only dropped shot at the 12th. “It was a difficult par-4 today so I’m not bothered,” he said.
Another irrelevance this week is good diet, his housemates for the week, Scott Jamieson, Adam Gee and Robert Dinwiddie, having produced a chocolate cake complete with candles for his birthday on Thursday.
Housemate Jamieson was in the frame, too, after a 69 yesterday for 137 to lie three off the pace and Chris Doak kept his hopes alive with a 70 for the same halfway total.
One of the most notable showing was from Lloyd Saltman, who was Scotland’s great hope for the future five years ago and showed signs of a return to form with a six-birdie inward nine.
The 24-year-old won the silver medal for top amateur in the 2005 Open at St Andrews but so far has failed to live up to that promise. Yesterday’s 67 for 139 that left him five behind Murray is hardly reason to announce that the fallow days are over, but his tail is now up and he has brought a run of five missed cuts in a row on the Challenge Tour to an end.
It came at a time when the scent of a possible return to the Open at the home of golf, where he was joint 15th last time, is driving his ambition again, and so is the current form of Welshman Rhys Davies who is now challenging for a Ryder Cup place.
“We grew up together and Rhys has always been a great player. Look at him last year, he didn’t have a category but now he has won more than 1million Euros,” he said.
“He has done the right thing by staying patient and not chasing his tail and that is a rut that maybe I get caught up in a little bit and pushing too hard instead of enjoying myself on the course.
“I know I have the game and the aptitude. I just have to wait for it all to fall together and if I get to St Andrews then who knows what might happen.”
Saltman is waiting to find out his venue for local final qualifying and said he was hoping it would be Scotscraig where he qualified back in 2005. In the meantime he is languishing at No.130 on the Challenge Tour order of merit, but believes he is on the right track with a new putting set-up he has been working on with coach Colin Brooks and a more controlled left-to-right ball flight.
Saltman finished with three straight birdies, holing at the last from 20 feet. “I’m a little bit behind but I can push on from here today and tomorrow,” he said.[Douglas Lowe, Sunday Herald]