Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri set a record on Sunday (early Monday IST) by tying for fifth place at the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) Championship. This is the best performance ever by an Indian in a major golfing tournament (the title earlier belonged to Jeev Milkha SIngh, who won the ninth position at the PGA in 2008).
"A most surreal week @PGAChampionship at my new favorite #WhistlingStraits," tweeted Lahiri after the end of the tournament. "Memories for life and hopes to achieve a dream #believe #GoIndia"
The young golfer, who turned pro in 2007, has had a great year with two victories in Malaysia and India and commendable performances at the Masters Tournament and The Open.
Sportspersons from India and abroad congratulated Lahiri on his success.
Congrats to my guy @anirbangolf on his first Top 5 major finish— Andre Iguodala (@andre) August 16, 2015
Congrats @anirbangolf for an amazing tournament !!— Somdev Devvarman (@SomdevD) August 17, 2015
Well done @anirbangolf on a fantastic result and a brilliant last year,so proud of you...way to go mate... a round is due...hahaha— Kartik Murali (@kartikmurali) August 17, 2015
The 28-year-old told NDTV that he believed now the world wants to know more about Indian golf.
On Sunday he played a final round of 68, after first three rounds of 70-67-70, for a total of 13-under 275. At one point during the day, he was even tying for third place.
He is now expected to return to the top-50 rankings, and perhaps play for the International Team for the President's Cup in Incheon, Korea in October this year.
"This gives me a massive amount of confidence, knowing that I can be out here mixing it up with the best, knowing that I need to get just a little bit better to maybe get closer or over the line in the future. So it's been a huge week for me," Lahiri said.
Meanwhile Asian Tour chairman Kyi Hla Han has lavished praise on Lahiri, saying the Indian star will inspire a new generation of golfers in the region to take on the world.
"Anirban is one of our exceptional talents who have emerged from the Asian Tour in recent times. We've seen his career progress dramatically from his rookie season in 2008 till today and he has done very well. We are happy for his success," said Han.
"In the past three seasons, Anirban has finished 10th, third and second on our Order of Merit and he is currently the leader this season. It shows his consistency in performing at the highest level in Asia and I'm the least surprised to see how well he has performed in the Majors this season, especially at the just concluded PGA Championship," he said.
"I believe Anirban will achieve more success internationally and he has the right credentials to lift a Major title in the very near future. He has the ability, the right work ethics and self-confidence to achieve this dream."
After helping India win the team silver medal in the Asian Games in 2006, Lahiri joined the paid ranks in 2007 and eventually established himself in the sub-continent by winning for the first time on the PGTI Tour in 2009.
(with PTI inputs)