India's Anirban Lahiri knows the Omega European Masters will play a huge role in defining his season when it gets under way in Crans Montana, Switzerland on Thursday. The current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader has enjoyed a spectacular start to the 2014 season, winning his first title abroad in Indonesia as well as enjoying three top-10s. (Also read: Ernie Els to make Hong Kong Open debut)
While these standout performances may have catapulted the 27-year-old Indian to the top of the money list, Lahiri knows the merit chase is far from over especially with a string of high profile events all lined-up in the second half of the season.
"It has been a great year for me but I think it's time to put the first half of the season behind me, restart and re-focus from this week. The bulk of the tournaments are starting now and it'll be great to get off to a good start," said Lahiri.
Making his return to the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club as a more accomplished player each time, Lahiri is hoping for more consistency in his game this year.
"There's a lot of golf left and I need to play consistently till the end of the year. This (European Masters) is obviously one of the biggest events and it's important that I play well," said Lahiri.
Lahiri grabbed the opening round lead with a sensational 63 only to see his title ambitions snuffed out in the subsequent rounds last year.
In 2012, he faced a similar situation where he stole the first round clubhouse lead only to miss the cut the next day after a horrendous 81.
"Every year that I come back, I've come back as a better player. I had several good rounds in the past and hopefully I can string together four good rounds this year," said Lahiri.
With a pressure-packed season ahead, the recently honoured Arjuna Award winner, is looking towards the company of his wife for that much needed balance outside the ropes.
"It's nice to have my wife with me this year. It's a beautiful place. One of the nicest locations to be playing golf in and it's nice to have her with me. It's good as that keeps me in a relaxed frame of mind," said Lahiri.
The Omega European Masters is the only event to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour on European soil since 2009 and marks the start of the second half of the Asian Tour 2014 season.
The event will see the return of many of the region's best players including Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, India's Gaganjeet Bhullar, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, Filipino ace Angelo Que and Korea's Baek Seuk-hyun.
Charismatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, the European Tour's oldest winner and holder of 21 titles including a win in Switzerland in 2010, will headline the European Tour's challenge alongside Wales' Jamie Donaldson, Italian Matteo Manassero and French star Victor Dubuisson.
(With inputs from the Asian Tour)