Lahiri is invited to play in the PGA Championship

The past few Sundays have belonged to Anirban Lahiri, and the trend continues. Although he finished tied-19th after a bogey-free four-under par 67 in the final round at LIV Golf Singapore, it was a productive day.

Anirban Lahiri of Crushers GC hits the ninth tee during the final round of LIV Golf Adelaide at Grange Golf Club on Sunday, April 23, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia (AP)

On Saturday, the highest ranked Indian got the mail he was eagerly waiting for. It came from the PGA of America, their invitation to the 105th PGA Championship, the second major of the year to be played May 18-21 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY.

As a celebration, Lahiri played a bogey-free round, making it special for his team with a crucial birdie putt on his final hole, which moved his Crushers team into third against the odds. Paul Casey and Charles Howell III set up that charge for the Crushers – both shooting stunning eight-under par 63s. Lahiri’s birdie put him ahead of Tork with a shot at 32-under par.

The tournament was won by American Taylor Gooch, who beat Spain’s Sergio Garcia on the first playoff hole, both scoring 67s in regulation play and topping 17-under par.

“I’m happy with how I played. To go bogey-free on the Serapong course is very special. I’ve been trying to do that for over 10 years,” said Lahiri, whose 5th-place finish at the 2015 PGA Championship was the best finish by an Indian golfer. Best performance in Major.

“With regard to the PGA Championship, I’m glad they decided to give me a place. This International Series reaffirms my very difficult decision to go to Vietnam when all this was going on at home.

Lahiri does not receive Official World Golf Ranking points (OWGR) for playing LIV golf. But he finished second in Vietnam at an Asian Tour-sanctioned event, which dropped him outside the top 100. He is currently ranked 95th in OWGR. The top 100 usually enter the fray.

“I am thankful to the PGA of America that their decision was not influenced by other things going on in the world of golf. This is going to be special for me. My last major was the PGA Championship last year. There is no greater reward in golf than playing in a major. Maybe,” said the 35-year-old.

Lahiri returns to India where he will attend celebrations for his mother-in-law, who lost her battle with cancer, on Sunday as he put in a stellar performance at LIV Golf Adelaide, finishing second behind eventual winner Gooch.

“I want to be with my kids and wife. It’s been a tough phase for me, I want to forget about golf for the next few weeks. I have Chikka (Indian pro S Chikkarangappa) to attend in Bengaluru. There is also marriage.

Gooch became the first player to win back-to-back one-year LIV golf. American Brooks Koepka showed again what he is enjoying – he was tied for second at the Augusta Masters – as he fell one shot out of a playoff and in solo third at 16-under par.

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