Newly-wed Anirban Lahiri has found a new love in links golf as he prepares for a second appearance at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool this week. The current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, who cut short his honeymoon in Madagascar after earning a late exemption into the year's third Major, believes his game is a perfect fit for old-styled courses.
"I'm really enjoying being here, it's a lot of fun. I love playing links golf. I think it suits my game as I'm a lot of hands and feel and not so mechanical," said Lahiri, who has enjoyed one victory and three top-10s this season.
"Out here, you have to commit to every shot. In the practice rounds so far, it's been about figuring out which shot I want to hit and committing to it. A few times previously, I wasn't sure and hit shots which have been destructive."
Part of Lahiri's attraction to links golf is the fact that each hole may play differently due to the weather elements. "I have played in two different kinds of winds over the past two days which is very important On one hole, I hit driver and three iron and today I hit three iron and pitching wedge," said Lahiri.
"Royal Liverpool is different than Lytham. There are not as many fairway bunkers but you have tight spots and there are internal out of bounds which is a bit strange. If you're like five yards off the fringe, you could be out of bounds."
After the frenzy of getting hitched in late May and cutting short his honeymoon to dash home for some preparation before flying into Hoylake, Lahiri knows he must get his mind back into competitive mode before he tees off in his first round on Thursday.
"The body is feeling okay. I've started to calm down as the mind has been hyperactive with everything that has gone on. I had a good four days with my coach back home before coming in and he said there's nothing wrong with the game and that I've done it before and told me to calm down. The more I can relax, the better I can play," added the Indian.
Two years ago, the 27-year-old made a memorable debut at Royal Lytham and St Annes by finishing tied 31st. He also shot a magical hole-in-one during the third round which led to his father celebrating wildly in the gallery. Â
With another Major appearance locked in for next month's US PGA Championship, Lahiri, who is ranked 86th in the world, realizes that it is not just about just being in the big events.
"Qualifying for these Majors is just the first step. It's a great thing but it doesn't hold any water if I don't play well. So for me, that is obviously more important. I'm going to put all my efforts and energy to play my best. If I can get close to my A-game, I can do well," he said.
(With inputs from the Asian Tour)