Lahiri off to flying begin with 6-under

Jackson (US), October 2

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri’s hot putter got him off to a flying start at the Sanderson Farms Championship, leaving him tied-7th after the opening round.

A bogey-free 66, one of his best starts in four years, saw him sit two shots behind co-leaders Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell and defending champion Sebastian Munoz. Matt Gligic is fifth at 7-under.

Lahiri knows he needs a good result each week to get into the following week and he is embracing the pressure. Playing at the Sanderson Farms for only the second time — he was tied-45th last year — Lahiri said the club reminds him of golf courses he grew up playing on.

“This is the kind of start I have been looking for. Even though the game has been there during the last couple of starts, there has been a little bit of volatility. So to open with a bogey-free round I am happy,” Lahiri said.

“I have put in a lot of work in my iron play. I had a chat with my coach Vijay Divecha and my short game coach is here. So, it was good to see myself hit some good iron shots and it was very satisfying. Even though the course is a little tricky, in the morning it was soft,” he added.

Chasing top-10

Lahiri will need another top-10 finish like last week to get a start at the Shriners Hospital Open in Las Vegas next week.

“I find myself in a weird place in terms of my eligibility. You know, I obviously haven’t had very good seasons the last couple of years and I missed a bunch of events. I have to just kind of play my way into events; and that’s really the first priority, to have the right kind of schedule, to have a full go at the golf courses that I like to play at and just get back to contending. So there’s a lot of those goals and they really motivate you.” Lahiri said.

Lahiri, who had two birdies on the front-nine and four more on the back-nine, said, “It was lots of good combinations. Obviously confidence is up. I feel like I’m playing really well.”

The highlight was his excellent form around the greens. He made a brilliant 24-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh and a chip-in birdie from the fringe on the par-4 12th.

On the turnaround in form, Lahiri said, “I think the lockdown really helped me. …I got back to the basics, undid a lot of the bad habits that had crept into the game and just tried to clean up the game, clean up the mind and just prepare.” — PTI

Sharma T-39th with steady opening round

North Berwick (Scotland): Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma got off to his best start since February, carding a 1-under 70 in the first round of the Scottish Open. Sharma, after striking two birdies against one bogey, is tied-39th. Gaganjeet Bhullar struggled to a 6-over 77 that included a closing triple-bogey. PTI

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