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Asian Tour back in Delhi

(Photo: Bruce Young)
New Delhi, March 27: 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 appearance in the British Open through the IFQ-Asia earlier this month in Thailand.

"Meditating has not only helped with my game but it has also made me a better person. It has put me more at peace with myself, the environment, my surroundings and with my family. That's what's reflecting on the golf course.

"I don't think meditating has any direct effect on my game but I'm not losing my temper on the course and I'm much calmer and accept whatever comes my way," said Lahiri.

Lahiri, highly regarded as the next generation of rising stars from India, said winning the Panasonic Open India paved the way to more success in his fledging career.

"The win at the Panasonic Open India last year really kick-start my good run. Anybody on Tour will tell you that the first win is critical. Since then, I've made a lot of progress and I'm really focussed on continuing my form and keeping it at a level where it should be," said the 24-year-old.

Coming from the United States, Fox believes travelling across to Asia has made him a more experienced and better player. He has notched three top-10s in as many starts this season and will be aiming for his first Asian Tour title at the Panasonic Open India.

"My time in India has been fun. It has been a lot different each time. In the beginning it was definitely a tough adjustment coming here from the US. It is definitely a culture shock and it catches you off guard in the beginning. The food is very different here but it is an adventure, especially for us (international players), it feels like a wild and exciting place," said Fox, who is playing in his second year on the Asian Tour.

"I had a really productive couple of months back home after the 2011 season. I came out with three top-10s earlier this year so that was nice. Like Anirban said, it is all about getting your first win to get to the next level. That's where I want to go now."

Asian Tour graduate Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand said fellow rookie David Lipsky of the United States, who won in the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic two weeks ago, has inspired him to shoot for glory.

The former David Leadbetter student said, "David (Lipsky) winning is a good motivation for me to go up there and do it as well. I feel like my game is getting there. The last time I was here, I wasn't hitting it that good and the course is a little bit intimidating. I feel like I'm ready and there's still a long way more in the season to give myself a chance of winning."

Chiragh Kumar of India alongside Asian Tour winners Gaganjeet Bhullar, Himmat Rai, S.S.P. Chowrasia and former Asian Tour number one Jyoti Randhawa are among the local favourites this week.

Kumar finished second at the Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club last year and will bank on his local knowledge of the course to spur him to victory.

"I haven't really been in the best of form so far. I played well on the local circuit last week so I'm carrying in a bit of confidence. I'm hitting the ball quite well so hopefully I can carry the form I had at the Indian Open into this week," said Kumar, who was part of the Indian team which won the silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

The Australians in the field include Scott Barr, Adam Groom, Wade Ormsby, Paul Donahoo, Kunal Bhasin, Adam Blyth, Darren Tan, Anthony Choat,

The worldwide appeal of the Asian Tour stars and the rich heritage associated with India will be showcased throughout four days of the Panasonic Open India to over 200 countries and 650 million homes across the Live, Highlights, Magazine programmes and via the additional exposure generated by Golfing World.

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