New Delhi: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri hopes an improved short game will guide him to a successful title defence at the Panasonic Open India in March.
Lahiri enjoyed a dream home victory in the inaugural Panasonic Open India last season but subsequently struggled with his form during the second half of the year, something he believes will improve after joining the growing band of players switching to the belly putter.
"After a great start to 2011, I let my performance slip in the second half of the year," said Lahiri.
"I struggled to score and my short game and putting left a lot to be desired. I still feel like I am hitting the ball really good and that a good four days is all it might take to get things going again," he said.
"I recently switched to the belly putter at the Hong Kong Open and I am in the process of making technical changes to adapt to it. I am focussing a lot on my short game since my scrambling stats have not been good," he added.
Lahiri won the Panasonic Open (India) after defeating countryman Manav Jaini and Mardan Mamat of Singapore in a thrilling play-off at the Delhi Golf Club. The local star will be among a strong Asian Tour line-up in this year's $300,000 event slated from March 29 to April 1.
He recalled his career breakthrough with fond memories.
"The first win is always special and there was a lot of relief since I had come close before. It gave me a lot of confidence and belief to take forward with me into my career. The two-year exemption on the Asian Tour is something that all professionals look forward to, simply because it allows you to play freely without thinking about your card," said Lahiri.
After enjoying a well-earned three-week break from golf to spend time with his family and friends during the off season, Lahiri is ready and eager to challenge for honours again in the upcoming season.
"I took my mind off the game for a while. Now with the new season drawing closer, it is back to practice and working out. I have identified areas in my game that need attention and I am working on making them my strengths," said the 23-year-old.