India's Lahiri optimistic of future after record finish

Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:52am EDT
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KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Anirban Lahiri notched up India's best-ever result at a major championship by finishing tied fifth at the PGA Championship on Sunday, leaving him in no doubt he belonged at golf's top table with the game's current crop of rising stars.

The 28-year-old closed with an assured final round of four-under-par 68 and a 13-under total on the notoriously tricky Whistling Straits track, seven shots back of winner Jason Day of Australia who held off double major winner Jordan Spieth.

"It's been a fantastic week," Lahiri told reporters after eclipsing the previous Indian major record of a tied ninth finish by Jeev Milkha Singh at the 2008 PGA Championship.

"I won't really say I was in contention here because I was a long way out but I was in the mix. It's a great feeling, it's massive for me. It gives me so much confidence.

"It also tells me that I can compete with the best on the toughest courses and the best fields. It also tells me that I need to get just a little bit better and maybe I'll be back here more often."

Lahiri, who finished tied 30th at the British Open and made the cut at his first Masters this year, has enjoyed a whirlwind 18 months.

He has won four times on the Asian Tour, with two of those triumphs coming crucially in tournaments co-sanctioned by the European Tour that carried more weight.

His world ranking has surged from 195th to 38th with a spot on the Internationals team for the Presidents Cup in October all but assured.

The biennial team event in South Korea would see Lahiri mix it again with Day and new world number one Spieth and the Indian said his PGA display, where he out-performed second-ranked Rory McIlory, showed he had no reason to feel inferior.   Continued...

Aug 15, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Anirban Lahiri hits his tee shot on the 9th hole during the third round of the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports