New Delhi: A fired-up Scott Barr of Australia is all set to tee up at the SAIL-SBI Open on Wednesday at the Delhi Golf Club. Barr came agonisingly close to a maiden Asian Tour title at last year's event when he led by one shot with two holes remaining but his hopes ran aground with a costly triple bogey six on the penultimate par-three hole.
The Singapore-based Australian eventually ended one shot shy of the play-off duo of Anirban Lahiri of India and Thailand's Prom Meesawat. Lahiri subsequently won the title in extra time and will defend it at the venerable course against a top line-up. Multiple winners Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, Sweden's Rikard Karlberg, who has won twice in India, and Myanmar Open champion Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand will be among the leading stars as the Asian Tour continues its 10th season after establishing itself as a players' organisation in 2004.
Local stars Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa, along with 25 of the top-61 players from the final 2012 Order of Merit, will also feature in the $300,000 tournament, which is in its sixth edition, being one of four Asian Tour tournaments staged in India. "I played really well at the SAIL-SBI Open last year. Obviously, I'm going there again with the intention to play to my best ability, which I hope is good enough to put me in contention," said Barr, who finished 21st on the Merit list last season.
"We all know the Delhi Golf Club can tear you to pieces if you hit your ball a bit off line. Unfortunately that happened to me. I just hit one bad shot and was out of contention," recalled the 40-year-old. "I changed quite a bit in my game this season - the way I'm swinging it, the putting style and the putter. I've been putting in quite an effort so hopefully it starts to pay off."
American Ben Fox is also eager to launch a title run. Last season, he started his 2012 campaign with five straight top-10s, including a fourth place finish at the SAIL-SBI Open. However, Fox fell off the radar in the second half of the season after failing to adjust to changes made in his swing. "I've been struggling with the game in the last five or six months but the game is starting to get a little better. I'll try to get comfortable on a course that I've played well in the past. Hopefully I can get some momentum and get back into the swing of things," said the 25-year-old American.
Do you think Anirban Lahiri can defend his title SAIL-SBI Open title?