After 69, Anirban Lahiri in with an opportunity in Texas

San Antonio (USA), April 4

Leading Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri fired a second successive 3-under 69 in the third round to jump three places to the fifth position at the Valero Texas Open here.

The 33-year-old is 7-under 209 after three rounds, giving him a legitimate crack at the title.

Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace share the lead on 12-under following matching 67s, with Charley Hoffman, a winner here five years ago, two back in third place.

After taking last week off, Lahiri has shown marked improvements in his ball-striking. He missed several putts from inside of 12 feet but was still upbeat after plodding his way around TPC San Antonio with four birdies on holes 4, 11, 14 and 17 against a lone bogey.

“I think this is the most solid I’ve played tee to green in a while. I felt really calm and, you know, I kind of knew what I was doing and it’s really nice,” said Lahiri.

“I do feel like I left quite a few shots out there. I hit it really good. So yeah, I think I would have liked to be maybe two, three shots better, but still got a look at it tomorrow,” he added.

“If I can go out and do the same things I did today, maybe make a couple more, it would be nice to get in the hunt.”

Since making his PGA Tour debut in 2016, Lahiri, a seven-time winner in Asia, has come close on a few occasions to joining countryman Arjun Atwal as a winner on the world’s premier golf circuit.

He holds a career best finish of T2 at the Memorial Tournament in 2017 but has largely struggled this year with five missed cuts in seven starts.

With Spieth chasing a 12th PGA Tour win and his first since 2017 and Wallace hunting for a maiden title, Lahiri knows he needs a solid performance to stay in the mix in the final round.

“I mean, there’s a lot of good players. I’m just going to have to come out with a clear plan on which holes to attack, which holes to kind of be maybe a little more conservative,” he said.

“The idea is just to, you know, when you start coming back towards the clubhouse when you get to 15, you want to have a shot at it. And quite honestly, that’s my goal.

“You know, on the homeward stretch, if I can give myself a look, I’m pretty sure I can get it done.” — PTI

Simplifying swing

Anirban Lahiri has been working hard on simplifying his swing with long-time coach Vijay Divecha, who lives in India. “I know the results haven’t showed it, but I know I’ve been getting better. My ball-striking hasn’t been anywhere near my usual standards,” he said. “I think I just got down to it with my coach. We’ve been doing a lot of work back and forth and just trying to simplify things. I think I was making things more complicated than they need to be and I think that’s been the key this week. A golf course like this is really good if you can have good strategies and that’s really helped me.”

Aditi slips in Round 3

Rancho Mirage (US): A rough third round of 3-over 75 caused Indian golfer Aditi Ashok to slip to tied-70 at the ANA Inspiration here. Aditi, whose previous rounds were 73 and 72, is now 4-over 220. Aditi had one birdie and four bogeys on Saturday. Meanwhile Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit heads into the final day with a five-shot lead. PTI

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