Lahiri seeks to turn fortunes around at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Orlando, Mar 5 (PTI) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri, who is going through a rough patch this season, will hope for a turnaround when he tees off at the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament.

Lahiri has endured his longest stretch without a top-10 finish at the start of the wrap-around season since he got onto the PGA Tour in late 2015.

The 32-year-old has slipped to 480th in the rankings, the lowest in almost a decade since November 2009.

The Palmer Invitational tournament has been on Lahiri’s schedule for last three seasons, though the results have not been very pleasant. He missed the cut in 2017, but finished T-76 and T-69 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The field will be competing for a USD 9.3 million purse, with 31 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking among the top contenders.

Korean Sungjae Im’s breakthrough on the PGA TOUR last week would have boosted his confidence as the youngster tees up in the world-class company, headlined by Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott and Patrick Reed.

The tournament, which is the second event of the Florida swing, will have 120 players with Francesco Molinari as the defending champion.

With Im’s success at the Honda Classic last week, a lot of focus will be on the Asian brigade including compatriot Byeong Hun An.

An, who made his debut in the Presidents Cup, is pushing hard to secure his first win on the PGA TOUR after finishing T4 at The Honda Classic.

There will also be some focus on Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond while China’s Xinjun Zhang plans to make a big impression in his debut appearance.

Other Asians in the field include Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Korea’s Sung Kang, all winners already on the PGA TOUR.

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