Hua Hin, Thailand: Anirban Lahiri of India believes his maturity on and off the golf course has been the key to a standout season and he hopes to end it by winning the King's Cup Golf Hua Hin starting on Thursday.
He recently got engaged with long-time girlfriend Ipsa Jamwal and his love affair on the golf course has also been on the upswing in a season where he won one title at the SAIL-SBI Open on home soil and capped three other runner-up results.
"It is one of those signs that I'm getting old! I've been on Tour for six years and I'm a veteran at 26. I'm really happy with my personal life and my golf is reflecting that. I had a great 2013 and hopefully I can continue this year," said Lahiri.
Lahiri ranked fifth on the Order of Merit will be among a star-studded cast this week which include Scott Hend of Australia, who won three Asian Tour titles in 2013, dashing Swedish star Johan Edfors and defending champion Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand.
Order of Merit winners Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines will also feature in the US$1 million season-ending event alongside Hua Hin native Prom Meesawat at the Black Mountain Golf Club.
Lahiri has won three Asian Tour titles in his fledging career but the goal of winning his first title outside of India remains as one his top priorities at this week's King's Cup which recently inked a five-year agreement with the Asian Tour.
"I have been unfortunate not to get another win but I have no complains. It was one of those seasons where every time I come up against some sort of adversity but found something in my game that has helped me. I'm really happy with how it has been.
"You don't really get much time to reflect on those missed opportunities. You are just trying to learn every week from the mistakes you make and try to take the positives and make sure you improve. That's been my attitude so hopefully I can keep the same frame of mind," he explained.
Lahiri's season haul of US$465,696 has put him in contention to qualify for the Asian Team for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM which will be played in Malaysia in March.
However, his fate in the Ryder Cup style event will depend on his result this week as Baek Seuk-hyun of Korean and Prom, ranked seventh and eighth on the Order of Merit respectively, have a fighting chance to overtake him on the Order of Merit if they win this week.
If Baek wins, Lahiri will need to finish inside the top-four and if Prom emerges victorious, the talented Indian must secure at least a top-25 result to qualify for the EurAsia Cup.
"It is really special because it is going to be like the Ryder Cup for Asians. We've always wondered how that would feel. If I play well this week, then it will get me into the team," said Lahiri.
Lahiri has fond memories of the Black Mountain Golf Club as he secured his first Asian Tour top-five result at the Black Mountain Masters in 2009.
"I really like the track. This is where I had my first top-five result on the Asian Tour way back in 2009. I always felt positive coming out here. I think the greens are the fastest out here. It is going to be really exciting golf this week," he said.