Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Anirban Lahiri has been forced to cut short his honeymoon in Madagascar for a very good reason -- he has earned a prized spot in The Open Championship from July 17-20.
The Indian star, ranked 81st in the world, was amongst a further 10 golfers who secured their places in the 143rd Open at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake as the highest ranked non-exempt players on the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 30.
Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi of Korea, ranked 66th, also earned a place in the world's oldest Major and will make his 15th appearance in The Open.
The 27-year-old Lahiri, who tied the knot with sweetheart Ipsa Jamwal at the end of May, was caught by surprise when The R&A announced on Wednesday that he was amongst those who will tee up at Royal Liverpool.
"I am two days into my 10-day honeymoon. In the middle of a tropical rainforest in Madagascar and trying to get back to India now ASAP (as soon as possible). Total chaos. Will have to make it up to the wife big time. Super excited," said Lahiri in a message to the Asian Tour.
Lahiri will enjoy his second appearance at The Open following a highly memorable debut in 2012 where he finished tied 31st at Royal Lytham and St Annes and sank a magical hole-in-one during the third round.
The powerful Indian star currently leads the Asian Tour's Order of Merit thanks to a memorable season thus far where he won the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters and recorded four other top-10s. After finishing a career high third on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit last season, he has jumped from 111th to 81st in the world since the start of 2014.
Lahiri also played a big role in Team Asia's stunning come-from-behind draw with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia in March where he secured two points, including a 2&1 singles victory over Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.
Choi, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, will also go to The Open in good form after enjoying a tied second finish at the Travellers Championship two weeks ago which helped him win a ticket to The Open. The Korean's his best finish in the Open is joint eight in 2007.
The Open Championship is golf's oldest Major. Played since 1860 on links golf courses, it is the game's most international Major Championship with qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans.
(With inputs from Asian tour)