Lahiri vows to rise from disappointing Presidents Cup debut

Anirban Lahiri Asian TourIncheon, Korea: India’s Anirban Lahiri will remember his Presidents Cup debut for a very long time.

The current Asian Tour number one agonisingly lipped out a birdie putt from three feet on the 18th hole which would have earned his International Team a half point with Chris Kirk on a dramatic final day singles session which saw the United States claim a nerve-jangling 15.5 to 14.5 victory at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.

“These things are scripted I guess, and I wasn't in the script this time,” said a despondent Lahiri after his 1-up defeat.

“On 18, I guess it wasn't meant to be, unfortunately. I was pretty sure what the line was and I made a good stroke. But I did what I've done all week, misread putts. It looked like right in to me. That's why I hit it. Went left to right and caught a big part of the lip. Spat it out.”

Lahiri was 2-down through 11 but fought back to draw level by winning the 12th and 14th holes. The match went up to the par five 18th hole and Lahiri seemed to have the upperhand by getting close for birdie while Kirk left himself with a tricky 15-footer.

The American however produced an exquisite stroke for a well deserved four which turned the pressure on Lahiri, who subsequently missed. American Bubba Watson, who also missed a similar length putt on the last green to halve his match with Thongchai Jaidee, immediately went up to the Indian to offer his support.

“I had Bubba come up to me about a minute after we finished and he said he had done the same exact thing. Both of us thought - I guess. I have to give credit to Chris for making that putt,” said Lahiri, who will defend his Venetian Macao Open title next week.

International Team Captain Nick Price believes Lahiri, and Korea’s Sangmoon Bae, whose anchor singles match against Bill Haas proved to be the Presidents Cup decider which the Korean lost 2-up on the 18th green, would benefit from the experience of being in a pressure-cooker atmosphere.

“They were in very difficult predicaments, which I don't think they have ever felt before. But it's all part of the experience. Today is a day they will never forget, but I hope they use it in a positive way to take the next step,” said Price.

“I said to Anirban, you know, he may never have a putt that he'll be that nervous over, but he hit a great putt. It was just a little unlucky it didn't go in. Probably 95 times out of 100, that putt would have gone in. But that's what makes this event so special.”

Lahiri ended his Presidents Cup campaign, where was the first Indian to feature with the biennial team event, with three losses but vowed to fight his way back into the International Team in two years’ time.

“I haven't had any momentum all week really. Today was similar. I didn't play too badly. But just didn't get anything going,” he said. “I knew that the half point was equally important. The full point would've been I guess game changing, but the half point would've also given us a little more of a chance.

“This is certainly not how I would've wanted to have my first Presidents Cup play out. I do feel terrible right now. It's going to be hard for me to sleep tonight, I think. I'm sure the rest of the team is going to help me out with that with the evening's festivities.

“I would like to rewind and just change the last 10 seconds of it. I think it wasn't meant to be. Hopefully I get a chance to redeem myself in years to come. That's what I did and it didn't go in. That's how the cookie crumbles.”