Proud of his Indian heritage, Indo-American Theegala praises Lahiri ahead of Shriners

Oct 7: Anirban Lahiri will be hoping to make up for the missed cut in his season opener when he tees up at the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin. Lahiri, who managed to keep his PGA Tour card despite missing out on some events and went through a punishing schedule, including a trip to Japan for the Olympic Games, despite a bout of Covid, is hoping for a good early start in the new season.

Lahiri apart, there is some other Indian interest in the event, as rookie Sahith Theegala, who said he is proud of his Indian heritage, follows up on his superb T-8 finish last week.

While Lahiri goes up with Doc Redman and Harry Higgs from the tenth tee in the afternoon, Theegala, Jared Wolfe and the European Tour prodigy Rasmus Hojgaard will play from the first tee.

Theegala in a virtual interview with select media was glowing in his admiration for Lahiri, as he said, “Anirban has been really supportive of me since I would say the last year at the Safeway championship, I made the cut on the number, and then shot a 64th third round and ‘Baan’ also played well that third round. I never introduced myself to him yet, but he came over to me when we were in the dining area. I’ll never forget this, he probably doesn’t remember. But he came over to me in the caddie dining area and he’s like “Hey, man, great playing… really good stuff, looking forward to seeing what you do … “.

“I thought that was really cool and he’s been really supportive of me since as well. I just saw him on the range yesterday and I was walking past him not really wanting to disturb him but he turned around and gave me a little handshake and said really good playing last week. So it’s pretty cool to kind of start these relationships with some of these guys and I’m looking forward to continuing that as well.”

He also revealed that he had followed other Indian golfers, too. He said, “A few months ago I followed Shubhankar Sharma on Instagram; I was looking through his page, this might have been right after the BMW. So not that long ago I clicked on unfollow, but I followed him again and he ended up following me back. So I thought that was pretty cool and that was before I got my card . So that was cool.”

Theegala also said, “I would love to play and come to India at some point. I’ve never actually brought my golf clubs over there (to India). One time I played with some rental clubs at (a course) I don’t even remember. It was such a long time ago… I think it was Boulder (Boulder Hills). I played when I was like maybe 11 or 12 with a rental set. But I would love to come over there and play because I have so much of my family over there still and it would be really cool for my grandparents and some of my family that doesn’t get to come over here to watch me play.”

The field includes some big names like Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, Paul Casey, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter and Webb Simpson among others.

TPC Summerlin, the host of this week’s event, is played as a par 71 that stretches to just 7,255 yards. It has been a part of this tournament since 1992.


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