Poulter’s withdrawal gives Lahiri a start at Singapore Open (Diary)

November 12th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Sentosa (Singapore), Nov 12 (IANS) Rookie Anirban Lahiri followed Himmat Rai into the main draw of the $ 5 million Barclay’s Singapore Open starting Thursday. Lahiri benefitted from the late withdrawal of Ian Poulter of England who decided to pull out after learning that the replacement for his driver, which was stolen in Shanghai last week would not arrive until Friday evening.”I am really gutted. I have been thinking about it for four hours and I have decided to withdraw because my new driver will not arrive on time,” said Poulter. “It is disappointing because I did not come all the way not to play. But with so many world ranking points at stake if I played badly (by using a different driver) I may have lost ground.”

Earlier Rai got in as first reserve when Sergio Garcia declined to the invitation extended to HSBC Champions winner last week.

It will be the biggest tournament of their careers for both Himmat and Lahiri.

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Rain worries organisers

After heavy rains played havoc with the schedule at the HSBC Champions last week and extended the tournament to Monday, it seems the rains are back to haunt the Singapore Open.

Two years ago, rain interrupted play Saturday and then further heavy rain Sunday had forced more stoppages which made it impossible to complete 72 holes by Sunday evening. It led to the cancellation of one round and the event was reduced to 54 holes.

Adam Scott and Ernie Els, who were tied after the third round went into a four-hole play-off which Scott won.

This time around, Barclay’s and Asian Tour have announced that should rain interrupt play, the tournament could be extended to Monday to try and complete 72 holes.

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More than one Indian could challenge for Order of Merit.

While Jeev may look the most serious challenger among Indians for the Order of Merit, S.S.P. Chowrasia (4th with just over $ 443,000), Arjun Atwal (5th with just over $ 430,000) and Jyoti Randhawa (13th with just over $ 260,000) could leap into the frame and even lead if they win the title which will be worth $ 792,500. Second place winnings of $ 542,500 could also make a huge difference. The third place has $ 305,000 on offer and even fourth and fifth will make over $ 200,000.

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Good for both youngsters and seasoned players.

While an event like the Singapore Open gives young players like Himmat and Lahiri, a chance to rub shoulders with the best, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Amandeep Johl, playing on a Board exemption, and Arjun Singh will be hoping a good result this week which could mean a full card for next year.

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