New Delhi, India (SportsNetwork.com) - Anirban Lahiri birdied the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat S.S.P. Chawrasia in an all-Indian playoff and win the Hero Indian Open.
On a tough, windy day that yielded just 16 total rounds under par, Lahiri carded a 2-under 69 to finish regulation tied with Chawrasia at 7-under-par 277. Chawrasia, who held a share of the first-round lead and was the outright leader at the conclusion of rounds two and three, struggled en route to a 5- over 76.
"It's incredible. Starting today I didn't really think I had a chance," Lahiri said. "It was one of the toughest days ever that I've played golf at Delhi Golf Club and I'm really happy to have accomplished this. It's a childhood dream."
The 27-year-old Lahiri earned his tour card by finishing in the top 25 in the European Q School and he has since gone on to pick up his first two European Tour victories, both of which have come in the last three weeks. Lahiri's other win was at the Maybank Malaysian Open two weeks ago.
"It's hard to come to terms with," said Lahiri. "Just six months back I was in Spain at Qualifying School and really relieved having stared at not having my card with five holes to go, so it feels like I've skipped a couple of steps to get where I am right now. It's obviously a fantastic feeling and hopefully I can keep playing well through the year."
Joakim Lagergren (69), Mithun Perera (69), Prayad Marksaeng (71) and Marcus Fraser (72) all finished tied for third at 6-under 278 at Delhi Golf Club.
Siddikur Rahman, who held the lead early on in his round, struggled down the stretch and shot a 5-over 76 like Chawrasia. Rahman finished tied for seventh with Romain Wattel (68) and Richard McEvoy (70) at minus-5.
It was a wild final day as four different players held the outright lead at one point or another. Chawrasia entered the day with a 2-shot lead over Rahman after making just one bogey over his first 54 holes, but he certainly struggled with the conditions Sunday.
Following a pair of pars on one and two, Chawrasia tripped to his first bogey on No. 3, getting Rahman to within one of the lead. While that was happening, Lahiri, who was seven shots behind Chawrasia to start the day, made birdie on three of his first five holes at one, two and five to pull within three at minus-8.
Chawrasia continued to go the wrong way as he made a mess of the par-4 fourth hole on his way to a double-bogey. Rahman, playing in the final group with Chawrasia and Fraser, made par on his first five holes and he all of a sudden had a 1-shot lead at minus-10.
While Rahman sat in the lead and Chawrasia lurking one shot back, Lahiri was tied for third with Fraser, who's birdie at one had him up to minus-8 as well. However, a Lahiri bogey on No. 7 dropped him to three shots back.
Both Rahman and Fraser tripped to bogeys at six, dropping Rahman back into a tie for the lead with Chawrasia and putting Fraser into a four-way tie at 7- under with Lahiri, Lagergren and Daniel Chopra at the time.
Chawrasia continued to struggle with another bogey on seven, giving Rahman the lead once again. Chopra and Lahiri, playing in the penultimate group with Marksaeng, both made gains on eight, pushing them up to minus-8 with Chawrasia and one shot back of Rahman.
Chawrasia finally made his first birdie at the par-5 eighth to pull even with Rahman. At the same time, Fraser birdied eight and Lahiri bogeyed nine, putting Fraser one back with Chopra and dropping Lahiri two back. Chopra then made bogey on 10 to fall two behind as well.
After Rahman drained a trio of pars from seven, his downfall began with a bogey on 10, giving Chawrasia the outright lead once again. Chopra's back nine was not successful as he made three bogeys and a double-bogey to end well off the pace at 3-under.
While Rahman bogeyed his second straight on 11 to fall two back, Fraser drained a birdie on 11 to tie Chawrasia at minus-9. A Chawrasia bogey on 12 then gave Fraser his first outright lead.
While Lahiri was still lurking at minus-7 along with Rahman, he tripped to his third bogey on 14 after making four straight pars from 10. The dropped shot moved Lahiri three back of Fraser.
Like so many players tended to do on Sunday, Fraser started to move backwards and fell out of the lead on his own with a double-bogey on No. 13, giving Chawrasia the lead once again at 8-under. A Rahman bogey on 13 also dropped him back to minus-6 and two shots behind the leader.
Rahman went on to bogey 14 and 15 as well, making it five bogeys in six holes from 10, and despite a birdie at the last he could not make it all the way back and finished at 5-under.
Chawrasia also tripped to a bogey on 14 and he was tied with Fraser again. Sitting one shot back was Lahiri, who then made his fifth birdie on No. 16, pulling him even with Chawrasia and Fraser at minus-7.
Chawrasia put himself back in front with a birdie on 15, but he could not get out of his own way as the India native bogeyed 16. It appeared as if Lahiri was going to bogey the par-3 17th, but he chipped in from off the green to stay even with Chawrasia and Fraser.
Fraser also made bogey on 16, which ended up sealing his fate. He went on to par the last two, finishing one shot back. Both Lahiri and Chawrasia also parred 17 and 18, forcing a playoff.
In the playoff, Lahiri was able to lay up on the par-5 18th, while Chawrasia hooked his tee shot into the trees and found himself still in the rough after three shots.
Lahiri got up-and-down, drained his birdie putt from about 10 feet and Chawrasia did not even get to finish the hole.
"I was just trying to play well and give myself a chance on the back nine," Lahiri said. "There were about eight of us who could have pulled through so I feel really lucky and fortunate, and really happy."
NOTES: Chawrasia's two wins on the European Tour both came in India. His win at the 2008 Indian Masters was also at Delhi Golf Club ... Lahiri is now second behind only Danny Willett in the Race to Dubai rankings ... This was the 51st playing of the Hero Indian Open, but the first on the European Tour ... The last time this event was played was in 2013 on the Asian Tour. Rahman went on to win that tournament ... With the win, Lahiri earned 217,399 euros ... The European Tour is back in South Africa next week for the fourth time this season for the Joburg Open. George Coetzee went on to win by three at that event last year.