Golf: Disappointed Lahiri believes Asian players on brink of Major success

Anirban Lahiri of India watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the British Open.
Anirban Lahiri of India watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the British Open. PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI (REUTERS) - India's Anirban Lahiri believes a lack of experience cost him dearly in the last two rounds of the British Open but the Asian Tour money leader is confident the region will soon produce another male winner of a Major.

Lahiri was in contention after an impressive 36 holes at St Andrews but the 28-year-old suffered two back-nine meltdowns last weekend to finish six-under for the tournament and tied for 30th, nine strokes behind champion Zach Johnson.

"A lot of it comes down to experience," the seven-time Asian Tour winner told reporters in a conference call confirming the defence of his Venetian Macau Open title in October.

"It was only my fifth or sixth Major and in that sense I was a little bit inexperienced, also having not played St Andrews before.

"The conditions that we did get on the weekend, it was not easy on the back nine. Not just myself, but a number of guys lost a number of shots coming in."

Despite his struggles in Scotland, the two-time European Tour winner has complete faith in his game and believes there is no particular area in need of a significant overhaul.

He feels the mistakes he made at the British Open were strategic rather than the result of poor execution and Lahiri says his decision-making will improve as he plays top tournaments and in tricky conditions.

"I don't think there is anything lacking in my game (or that I'm) falling short in any one department. Whenever you win a big event or a Major, you need everything to click," he said. "And yes, everything did not click together last week. When I look back (on the British Open), there were more positives and the learning bit will happen soon."

While it was disappointing for Lahiri that male players from Asia have failed to mount a serious challenge at Majors since South Korean Yang Yong Eun won the US PGA Championship in 2009, he felt the region's golfers were getting closer.

"We haven't really had any one player or group of players consistently in the top 10. Having said that, I do think we are making progress," Lahiri said.

"There are more of us playing, there are more of us playing the weekends. Some of us do come close to contending.

"But I feel like it is only a matter of time. I think you only need everything to click. The week that Yang won was an example of that.

"I don't think we lack anything in terms of quality but everything has to come together at the right time."