Kuala Lumpur, February 4: In–form Anirban Lahiri and Arjun Atwal will lead the Indian challenge at the $3 million Malaysian Open starting on Thursday at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club here.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Rashid Khan, SSP Chowrasia and Shiv Kapur are the other Indians in the fray but they have been inconsistent in the recent past.
Lahiri had a career best year in 2014 where he finished second on the Order of Merit following two victories and seven top–10s, while Atwal completed a career turround when he secured an emphatic victory in the Dubai Open to end a frustrating four–year title drought in December 2014.
The Indians will face a stellar line–up that includes title holder Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, new Asian Tour number one David Lipsky, Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, both former champions of the Malaysian Open.
Atwal, India’s first Professiol Golfers Association (PGA) Tour winner and 2003 Asian Tour number one, tasted victories here in 2003 and 2008 and the 41–year–old will compete with renewed confidence.
Atwal said that he is not overworking his body to ensure that he stays healthy.
“I used to like practising! I wasn’t the type who would play a lot of rounds. I would get my work done on the range and I loved it. It was okay in my 20s and 30s but when I was 37 or so, the body starts to break down a little bit more because you do the same move,” Atwal, who won the 2010 Wyndham Championship of the PGA Tour, said.
“This is my 20th year as a professiol. You keep doing the same repetitive move and something is going to happen. My routine now is more playing than practising.”
With the Malaysian Open being co–sanctioned with the European Tour, Lahiri, who finished tied 10th here last season, is eager to start producing top results.
Lahiri, who is currently ranked 73rd, also hopes to establish himself on the European Tour after gaining a card from Qualifying School and eventually play his way into the Professiol Golfers Association (PGA) Tour.
Lahiri is not ready to rest on his laurels in his quest for more glory.
“It is a clean slate. You’ve got to start from scratch. My goals are the same. Top–50, playing in Europe and America, these are all the goals that I will always have in mind right through my career,” he insisted.(IANS)