Honolulu (Hawaii), January 17
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri improved on his personal best at the Waialae Country Club with a third round six-under 64 for a share of the 17th position at the Sony Open here.
That brought his 54-hole aggregate to 12-under in his first start on the PGA Tour in 2021. Lahiri is five behind the new leader, Brendan Steele (61), after Saturday’s round. His 65 on Friday was his previous best.
Lahiri’s 64 included a double bogey on 18th, his ninth hole.
“I think even on the front nine (of the course) I played really well. It was unfortunate I had a couple of very aggressive lip-outs (when putted balls touch the lip (edge) of the cup and do not fall in) else I could have probably shot another couple of shots,” the Indian said.
“So that just tells you how well I feel right now. I will try my best and maybe replicate this or go even better and keep a clean card.”
Starting on the back nine of the Waialae course, Lahiri made good use of the conditions on a day when the scoring was low and it included a 61 by the leader, Steele, and Kevin Na, who shares the second place with Mexican Joaquin Niemann.
After missing a birdie from eight feet on the 12th, Lahiri rolled in three in a row with superb iron shots getting him within five feet.
Then came the blunder on 18th.
Lahiri said, “Again, I think I was a victim of getting a little over aggressive. Probably because I knew that I had to shoot at least 10 under to get within 2-3 shots off the lead.”
“I was trying to make eagle on the 18th hole which is basically a tee box that’s guarded with a lot of tall palm trees.
“Except for that blunder on 18, I think I did a good job.”
On his second nine, Lahiri had five birdies, on the second and fourth and then another hat-trick from seventh to ninth to close with a 64. His iron play was spot on and only two of his eight birdies came from more than 15 feet – from 25 feet on second and 17 feet on seventh.
“I hit the ball really well with my irons I had them really close. So, it wasn’t a case of making that many putts from long range, really happy with the way I’m striking the ball.”
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a 4-under 66 in the third round to be five shots off the lead. Matsuyama, a five-time PGA Tour winner, made one eagle, three birdies and a lone bogey and is the top Asian in the field.
Steele is chasing a fourth PGA Tour win. He lost in a playoff here to Cameron Smith last year. He is 18-under 192 and leads Na and Niemann by two. PTI