THE SAIL-SBI Open in India will launch the 2014 Asian Tour season at the Delhi Golf Club from Feb 26-Mar 1 (Wed-Sat).
The US$300,000 tournament will be celebrating its seventh edition with local hero Anirban Lahiri, who finished third on the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit, set to defend his title which he also won in 2012. Other leading Indian stars are expected to converge at the venerable Delhi course along with many of the top Asian Tour players.
Last year, Lahiri defeated countryman Rashid Khan in a playoff to claim his third Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open. It was also his third victory at the Delhi Golf Club, which has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the talented Lahiri.
He went on to post three other runner-up finishes and two top-five outings to earn US$517,030 last season, which is his career highest earnings to date. Lahiri has also qualified to represent Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup to face Team Europe in Malaysia in late March.
The Steel Authority of India Ltd and State Bank of India are the main sponsors of the tournament, whose past winners include Mark Brown of New Zealand (2008), Chapchai Nirat of Thailand (2009), Rikard Karlberg of Sweden (2010), Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (2011) and Lahiri (2012 and 2013).
The tournament has proven to be very successful in the past with great champions emerging. Big-hitting Chapchai shot a world-record of 32-under 256 in winning the title in 2009 at the Classic Golf Resort while Kiradech used his maiden victory at the tournament three years ago to eventually propel him to the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit crown last season.