Indian golfer beats higher-ranked American in first round at World Golf Championship in California
San Francisco: Anirban Lahiri indicated he is ready to make his presence felt at the highest level, as he made a sensational debut at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, beating higher-ranked Ryan Palmer of the US for a 4&2 win in Group 6.
India's Anirban Lahiri hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during Round 1 of the World Golf Championship in California yesterday
In the second set of matches, Lahiri will meet Justin Rose, while Marc Leishman meets Palmer. In the other match in the Group, Leishman stunned Rose 2&1 to throw the Group wide open.
Lahiri, ranked No 35 in the world, a seven-time winner on Asian Tour and twice on European Tour, started and closed well and had six birdies against no bogeys in his 16 holes to bolster his matchplay credentials.
"I played really good," said Lahiri. "It was a solid round. I don't think Ryan played poorly, either, I think it was a really good match. It was massive for me to birdie 13, and then chip in on 14 to keep myself three ahead."
The other two players in the Group are Justin Rose, Masters runner-up and winner of the PGA Tour event in New Orleans, and World No. 60, Marc Leishman. Interestingly, Leishman stunned Rose 2&1 to throw the group wide open.
In the new format, 64 players are divided into 16 groups of four each. Each player plays the other three and the winner of the group proceeds to the Last 16.
Rory, Spieth win too
Meanwhile, World No 1 Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Jordan Spieth began with easy wins too. McIlroy was too good for Jason Dufner, winning 5&4. Spieth beat Finland's Mikko Ilonen 4&2.