Anirban Lahiri slips on weekend as Kisner guns for maiden Major at PGA
Little went right for Anirban Lahiri over the weekend at the 99th PGA Championships, as his putting and chipping cost him heavily in the third round. As a result, Lahiri, T-43rd at the halfway stage, dropped to T-68 after three rounds and was then five-over through 15 holes.
Kevin Kisner (-7) was yet to begin his final round in the company Chris Stroud (-6), while the second last pairing Hideki Matsuyama (-6) and Justin Thomas (-5) will try hard to chase them.
After a fairly solid opening 72 followed by 73, Lahiri made the cut in T-43rd position, but then slipped as the putting continued to be a big letdown. Missing a bunch of small putts, inside five feet, and many more between five and 10 feet, Lahiri’s woes continued the whole week with chipping troubles and an errant 4-Iron adding to it.
On the final day, Lahiri opened bogey-bogey for a fourth successive shaky start. Over the weekend, the first and second holes of Quail Hollow, cost Lahiri five shots and six through the week. A birdie on the fourth was a small respite before three more bogeys in a row form 9th to 12th. Then came another bogey on 14th and finally a second birdie on 15th.
On Saturday Lahiri said, "I had a shaky start and was just not able to recover and then like a recurring theme this week the putting was totally off. I also had problems with my 4-Iron and I was all over and then a few chips did not come off. My game from within 100 yards left a lot to be desired."
With rounds taking took close to five and a half hours on a hot and humid day, Lahiri had three birdies, four bogeys and two double bogeys.
Looking at the positives, Lahiri was very happy with his driving. "But I hit the ball off the tee so well. I think I hit it the best this season, and I must have found most of the fairways, so it was even more disappointing," said Lahiri.
The starts have continued to a bother. This time it was a double bogey and a bogey on first two holes. But this time the fight back did not happen on Saturday. And nor did it happen on Sunday.
Leader Kevin Kisner (72), who was solid for 45 holes – first two rounds and first half of third – made some mental errors and bogeyed 12th, but landed birdies on 14th and 15th. He actually missed an eagle on 15th. He was 10-under at that stage, and two ahead of Chris Stroud (71) and four ahead of Hideki Matsuyama (73), who was way below his best with putts not falling like Friday.
After great poise for so long, Kisner finally cracked a bit on 16th as he went into the water paid for it with a double bogey after his bogey putt from over 30 feet shaved the hole.
On 18th came another mistake, but this time he was lucky to get away with a bogey, as his second shot hit the stone bridge over the creek. The ball bounced onto the rough instead of going into water and he came back with a bogey, which could easily have been worse. He ended at 7-under.
With Chris Stroud (71), the world No. 203, bogeying 17th and 18th after earlier solid play, Kisner stayed one ahead.
Matsuyama had just one birdie the entire day and three bogeys as he kept missing putts. But he stayed mentally steady as he parred the last five holes, including the Green Mile – the 16th to 18th – which on Saturday cost Jason Day dearly. Day had a colourful last seven holes after being one-over for front nine and that included three birdies in a row and also a quadruple bogey on 18th.
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