Indian star Anirban Lahiri hopes the ‘feel-good’ factor will propel him to victory in the US$3 million Maybank Championship at Saujana Golf & Country Club which starts on Thursday.
“It is like coming back home for me. I won a couple of years ago in Kuala Lumpur. Obviously I’ve played in two EurAsia Cups here and so many years on the Asian Tour, so it is always a warm welcome for me. I played at Saujana as an amateur many years ago so it is like deja vu for me. It has been a while but it is nice to be back,” said Lahiri.
“I feel like my game is in the right place. I’m making a lot of birdies which is a good sign. I probably need to tighten my round a bit and put four good rounds together.” he added.
The 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner is amongst the stars gathered at Saujana Golf and Country Club for the US$3 million showpiece sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. The 29-year-old won the Maybank Malaysian Open two years ago en route to becoming the region’s number one and also holds four other top-10s in other Asian Tour tournaments in the country.
“Personally it is very important for me to come back to Asia for many different reasons. I want to stay in touch with my roots. This is where I developed my golf. You will always see me coming back to Asia, to India for sure. These are great events to be playing in. I’m not really making a big sacrifice. It is something that I really enjoy doing,” said Lahiri.
However, his path to an eighth Asian Tour victory could be blocked by reigning Masters Tournament winner Danny Willett, who is the highest ranked player in this week’s elite field at 15th in the world, and another Major winner, Charl Schwartzel.
Like Lahiri, Willet, a five-time European Tour winner, also has a knack of producing some his best golf in Malaysia, with three top-10s here. As he is also the touring professional for Saujana, whose Palm Course is nicknamed the ‘Cobra’, the Englishman will be eager to deliver a “home” victory at the Maybank Championship.
Following two wins last year, world number 26 Schwartzel, who won the Masters Tournament in 2011, will start as one of the contenders as he makes his first appearance at the Maybank Championship, which will also be his first tournament of the year.