Lahiri, World No.40, came through as one of the automatic qualifications for the International Team, which will take on United States in the biennial Presidents Cup in Korea. In the International Team standings, the deadline for which ended on Monday, Lahiri finished seventh to make the team.

Also becoming the first from his country to make the team was Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who was ninth. Expressing his elation at the qualification, Lahiri, winner of Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, said, “I can’t describe the feeling because growing up, you look up to events like the Ryder Cup and feel terrible about it as you can’t be a part of something like that.

But thankfully, we have the Presidents Cup for us to aim for and it is an achievement to make the team.” At one stage, Lahiri fell out of the Top-10, but his fifth place finish at the PGA Championships hauled him back into the zone.

“I know Jeev (Milkha Singh) was really close to getting in one year when he was in the world’s top-50 and unfortunately, he couldn’t due to injury. It would have done a lot of good for golf, not just in India but also in the whole of Asia.”

He added, “I’m looking forward to being a part of the International Team. It’ll be a massive boost for golf in the region. You get so many eyeballs and everybody in America will be watching. To be a part of something historic like that is extremely special. All I want to do is make sure that I get a point for the International Team.”

Lahiri has a good record at Matchplay, having been part of the Asian Team in EurAsia Cup and he also performed well at the WGC-Matchplay. Lahiri contributed two points out of three including a singles win over higher ranked Victor Dubuisson.

Thongchai, currently ranked 44th in the world, has come close to making the International Team previously and was delighted to add another career highlight to his glowing resume.

The Thai legend was the playing captain for Team Asia in the thrilling come-from-behind 10-10 draw with Team Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia last yea, where he defeated Graeme McDowell in the singles.

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