Taipei, Taiwan: A Vipassna meditation follower, Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri is counting on the ancient Indian technique to steer himself back onto the trail of glory when the USD 600,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters tees off at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
Lahiri will be looking to maintain a positive state of mind when he steps up to the tee at the richest Asian Tour event staged in Chinese Taipei.
"The course is such a beast. The conditions are always tough and it's a mental challenge. I'll be looking to meditate a lot," said Lahiri, who finished tied-25th in last year's edition.
Since winning his third Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open on home soil earlier this year, Lahiri has not been able to reproduce his winning form as injuries have hampered his progress and caused him to miss successive cuts in his last two events in Taipei and Japan.
"It has been tough for me after my knee injury last month and I've not been able to play at my 100 per cent. It can be frustrating at times but I'm working through it and I'm getting better and stronger," said the 26-year-old.
The Indian, who is eighth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, remains hopeful of mounting a title charge this week to seal his place among the elite at two upcoming high profile events following his campaign in Taipei.
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters is the last event for players to fight for the 10 available spots on the Order of Merit for the USD seven million CIMB Classic in Malaysia and is also the penultimate event to qualify for the USD 8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China next month.
"I'm trying to increase my workload and practice and I'm slowly getting there. With hard work and commitment, I'm sure my efforts will eventually pay off," said Lahiri. Like Lahiri, Thailand's Arnond Vongvanij is also hoping to focus his mind and haul himself back into contention for his second Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Arnond started the year promisingly with a tied-10th finish at the season-opening event in Myanmar and almost added a second win when he came in second at the Queen's Cup at home in June.
However, the 24-year-old Thai lost his way recently and missed three cuts in his last four events.
"My game's good but sometimes my focus is just not there all the time and I don't know why," lamented Arnond.
"Maybe I've been trying too hard on the golf course and I get tensed up easily. It seems like I haven't got off to a good start this year yet. If I can get off to a good start, I feel I'll stand a good chance when the weekend comes around," added Arnond.
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters has long been a mainstay on the Asian Tour Schedule and will welcome over 30 Tour champions and players from the region's premier Tour as they battle for the lucrative winner's prize purse of USD 120,000.
The local charge will be spearheaded by defending champion Tsai Chi-huang as well as other hopefuls including Lin Wen-tang, Chan Yih-shih and Lu Wei-chih who have a combined total of 11 Asian Tour titles.
Other contenders for the Mercuries Taiwan Masters include the leading three players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, India's Gaganjeet Bhullar and Australia's Scott Hend.