Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri is eyeing a top finish at the star-studded USD 7 million CIMB Classic next week to haul himself into the chase for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown.
Lahiri, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will be amongst a stellar cast at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club which will include include multiple Major winner Phil Mickelson of the United States, defending champion Nick Watney and Spanish stalwart Sergio Garcia.
Major champion Ernie Els of South Africa, former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson of the United States and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, the current Asian Tour No.1, will also feature in the CIMB Classic.
Lahiri, ranked eighth on the Order of Merit with USD 156,973, knows a strong week in Malaysia will put him in position to challenge for the Merit crown. He trails Kiradech by approximately USD 550,000.
"Obviously it will be a very important event that shapes the Order of Merit. Anybody that finishes high up that week is going to have a good chance at winning the Order of Merit," said the 26-year-old Lahiri, who has already won once this season.
The young Indian, who finished tied 26th here last season, knows there will be plenty to play for as the winner of the tourney will earn playing rights on the PGA Tour and a prized spot in the 2014 Masters Tournament.
"Giving it official status on the PGA Tour and on the Asian Tour will change the importance and stature of the event. The attitude towards the event will change and players will be more serious. There's a lot more on offer apart from the prize money and experience and I'm really looking forward to the challenge," said Lahiri.