x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

India's Anirban Lahiri is on cloud nine after his ace at British Open

the 25 year old needed only one swing with his nine iron to put himself in the history books at Royal Lytham.

India's Anirban Lahiri was aces on the ninth hole at Royal Lytham and St Annes, using a nine iron to drive the par-3 hole for a hole-in-one.
India's Anirban Lahiri was aces on the ninth hole at Royal Lytham and St Annes, using a nine iron to drive the par-3 hole for a hole-in-one.

LYTHAM ST ANNES // Anirban Lahiri had already made history at this year's British Open before he stepped up to the ninth tee in the third round.

With one swing of his nine iron, he put himself in the record books again.

The 25-year-old Indian, making his Open debut, made the first hole in one of the 2012 tournament on Saturday when he aced the par-3 No 9 from 150 yards.

A grinning Lahiri raised both hands in the air and gave a bow. The shot was played in front of his dad, making the moment all the more sweet.

"It was looking a little right of the hole, but it got a really, really friendly bounce. When it goes in, everybody goes wild, I go wild, it was fantastic," said Lahiri, who shot par 70 to remain at even par for the tournament.

"You're just looking around, you don't know how to express yourself, and then you see your dad jumping up out there blowing you kisses. These moments don't come every day."

It is a special time for Indian golf at the moment.

With Bangalore-based Lahiri and mentor Jeev Milkha Singh - who won the Scottish Open last week - both making the cut at Royal Lytham & St Annes, it is the first time two Indians are playing a weekend at the same major.

The golf scene back home is thriving, with the Professional Golf Tour of India - formed in 2006 - now having 30 tournaments on the calendar.

Prize money has soared by around 250 per cent in the six years, with two events co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Avantha Masters in New Delhi sanctioned by both the European and Asian Tours.

Cricket will always be top in India, but the 226th-ranked Lahiri said: "Golf is probably No 2 or 3 in terms of interest. It's growing - it's going to take a bit of time - but what I've done here and Jeev's win last week and any good performance in a major just helps the game at home to move forward."

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