St. Andrews (Scotland): Indian golfer Anriban Lahiri opened the front-nine of the second round with a steady one-under 35 in the 144th Open Championships at the Old Course this morning.
Lahiri started with a birdie on the first and followed up with eight pars, though he had a couple of near misses including one which stopped on the lip on the third. At four-under through 27 holes, Lahiri, 18th overnight, had moved to tied 14th and was the best placed Asian player in the field. Play today was delayed by over three hours because of rain and unplayable conditions and the water which had collected on some of the greens. The opening group did start at 6:32 am but found the green on first hole waterlogged and play was suspended till 10 am.
The 28-year-old Lahiri, winner of two European Tour titles this season at the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, who was supposed to tee off at 7.17 am finally teed off at 10.41 am after nearly a three and a half hour wait. Yesterday Lahiri got off to a great start at three-under with five birdies and two bogeys and by the time play ended in the first round, he was tied 18th for his best start in a Major, both in terms of scores and position. Lahiri made great use of the good scoring conditions as there was no wind in the morning and it picked up only in the afternoon and at times was a headwind.
“That was a satisfying start, though I could have been just a little better,” said Lahiri as he walked off the course. “I was delighted to finish even par on back nine as the conditions were tough on the back nine and I also had a lip out on 18th from around 12-15 feet,” said Lahiri. “On 14th I went into a fairway bunker and came out with a 5-Iron and then had about 208 yards to pin. I was hitting into the wind, which was really up. I used a 2-Iron, which I normally hit to 260 yards. The headwind meant it went much short and I had a 12-15 footer and holed it for a birdie,” he added.
On the 17th, Lahiri said, “The driver went way and from there it was 290 yards and the 3-Wood took me just short of the bunker. I chipped to seven feet and missed the par putt.” Lahiri got off to a birdie-birdie start on the first two holes. Adding another birdie on the seventh, he made his midway turn in a promising three-under as the conditions gave ample scoring opportunities to play who stayed clear of the
notorious bunkers at the Old Course.
Lahiri stayed steady till the 12th and then made his first error on the 13th, where he dropped a shot with a three-putt but quickly made amends with back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th that brought him to four-under. A par followed on 16th and on the 17th Road Hole Lahiri dropped a bogey and fell to three-under once again. Lahiri had a decent gallery following him and it included his family, parents and wife, besides his coach. There were a good number of local Indians, who cheered him along. The current Open marks Lahiri’s third appearance at the season’s third Major and his best has been tied 31st on his debut in 2012, when he also had a hole-in-one in third round.