Nassau (Bahamas): Anirban Lahiri gave a good account of himself in his final start of the year as he came back with a three-under 69, three shots of the lead in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge on Thursday.
Jordan Spieth (right) celebrates with Anirban Lahiri during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on Thursday. Pic/AFP
Lahiri who had four birdies against one bogey was lying tenth in the 18-man field at the Albany.
Playing in the company of World No 1 Jordan Spieth, with whom Lahiri has struck a good friendship, the Indian had four birdies and one bogey, a result of a bad break on the par-five ninth hole. Lahiri also had a ringside view of a hole-in-one from Spieth, whose 67 included a hole-in-one on the 187-yard Par-3 second hole, which he holed out with a 6-Iron Meanwhile at the top, Paul Casey, Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson turned in six-under 66 each to share the lead on a day when conditions seemed to be perfect for scoring.
The weather conditions were great for golf though the heat may have been somewhat tedious at times. But the atmosphere was relaxed quite in keeping with the proximity of the festival season. The gentle breeze reduced the impact of the heat and humidity and the scores were generally in red colours, barring Hideki Matsuyama, who ran into a quadruple bogey finish on 18th to end up with 75.
Lahiri had mixed feelings in a sense. While he was happy with the way he hit, he missed more than a few birdie putts.
"I should have been a couple of shots better. There were a couple of eagle chances and also a couple of other chances for birdies," he said.
However, he did mention of a couple of bad breaks, like the one on the par-5 15th.
“It was a fine tee shot and then with the second the ball landed on the waste area and it was right on top of a stone. That (sand wedge) shot (third one) went over like it was sculled and it went over the green and over some 20-30 yards almost on the 18th green. I was happy to get away with a good six (bogey),” said Lahiri, who birdied the first, sixth, 13th and 15th.
He added, “I missed a couple of eagle putts on sixth and 15th and I had a couple of unlucky bounces including on the ninth, but overall I was happy with my play,” said Lahiri.
He added, “I am actually surprised no one went real deep. Of course I am also happy about that since, it gives everyone a chance over next three days.”
Spieth wanting to finish off the season with a flourish saw his 6-iron shot land in front of the hole and dropped in the cup. "Absolutely flushed it right at the hole and didn’t think it went in,” Spieth said. “I started walking because balls have been sticking on the green, so I thought it stuck. But I guess it just crept forward that extra 2 feet."
Spieth and Lahiri clearly had some camaraderie going as they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Lahiri said, “It was fun playing with Jordan. I have played with him before at the WGC-HSBC in 2014, at a time when I was trying to get into Top-50. We have been pretty good friends.”
Lahiri and Spieth had to wait for almost 20-minutes on the fairway of apr-5 third, as Zach Johnson was first penalised one shot for marking his ball off the third green.