Hilton Head Island (US): Playing his first tournament since the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago, Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri opened his campaign at the RBC Heritage in style with a four-under 67 that gave him a share of 11th place.
It was yet another good start for the Indian ace, who is seeking to improve his place on the World Rankings, which has now fallen to 80th and he needs to get back to Top-50 to make the Majors.
Despite the fine start, Lahiri is still four behind leader Bud Cauley, who charged ahead with eight-under 63 with eight birdies and no bogeys.
Three players, including Luke Donald, who has a remarkable six Top-3 finishes, including four seconds, was two shots behind alongside Graham DeLaet and Sam Saunders in tied second place. Donald was second even last year when Branden Grace won the title.
Lahiri started from the 10th and had three birdies on 10th, 15th and 17th and when he birdied the first he was four-under through 10. A bogey on third was compensated by a birdie on fourth. He again bogeyed sixth and birdied seventh to finish at four-under.
He said, “You want to get off to a solid start. I think I played well to start, still some work to do in some areas.
I’ve been off for three weeks. Also, just getting my rhythm back on the golf course. So that feels good,”
He added, “It’s the kind of golf course where you have to take advantage where you can. You’re going to get tough days.
It’s probably going to really firm up. It’s not going to rain it’s going to bake. And it was a little wet in the morning with the dew, made it a little softer. You could almost feel it beginning to firm up underfoot as we were finishing up. I’d expect more of that by Sunday.
On missing the Masters last week, he said, “I didn’t watch Thursday and Friday. It was very hard for me to watch, honestly. I played the last two years. And it was difficult. I tried to drown myself in work Thursday and Friday. But everybody shuts down on the weekend so I watched some golf.
And I was very happy for Sergio winning it. It was fantastic.
As for the recent rest and coming, he added, “I’ve been working on my game, particularly on my putting and my short game. I think those two areas have been my weak links, at least in the last two or three months. Today I hit the ball good.
“And I’ve just not done justice to my scoring. So, I worked on that. Happy to have made a few putts coming in, even though most of the time I was scrambling. I worked on that, took some time off. Got back to work on my fitness. I had a very gruelling travel schedule to start the year, so I needed to take some time off and put my feet up and just recover from that, as well.”
Lahiri will play this week and the next at Texas, before taking two weeks off and then go to the PLAYERS and all the way through to the Memorial.
After an early tee off on Thursday, Lahiri will go at noon from the first tee in the second round alongside Luke List and Wesley Bryan. (PTI)