India’s Anirban Lahiri produced a superb front nine en route to a steady final round to finish tied sixth at the Dean & Deluca Invitational golf tournament and register his first top-10 position of the ongoing season on the PGA Tour.
The 28-year-old Lahiri, whose sole top-10 in 2016 came in the European/Asian Tour event, the Hero Indian Open, where he finished second, shot 68 in the final round in Texas to finish with a total of nine-under 271 at the Colonial Country Club.
The finish here bettered his previous best this 2015-16 season of tied 21st at CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which is PGA Tour’s only stop in Asia.
Lahiri’s rounds this week were 65-70-68-68. He also moved to 88th on the FedEx Cup table.
At the top Jordan Spieth (65) reminded of his ‘Masters meltdown’ by a fan at the turn, raised the bar on the back nine with six birdies to grab the title, his first in his home state of Texas. He ended with 17-under and three clear of Harris English (68).
Lahiri, who admitted he was disappointed that he could not keep the gap smaller than five shots after three rounds, kept his word of going all out early in the final round.
Lahiri had three birdies and no bogeys in his front nine and then added two more on 10th and 11th. At one stage at 12-under, he rose to 12-under and was a mere two shots behind the then leader, Harris English.
Lahiri birdied second, fifth, seventh, 10th and 11th. Unfortunately, one bad swing on 15th, which saw him go into the water with the second shot, forced him to take a penalty.
He was then faced with a 15-footer for a bogey but he missed that and ended with a double.
Earlier on 12th, Lahiri lost his rhythm as the group – he played with Patrick Reed and Bryce Molder – was put on the clock. He hit into the greenside bunker on par-4 12th and also failed to hole his 15-foot par.
“I played well all day, except for that bad swing on 15th,” admitted Lahiri.
“Also, maybe I lost a bit of my rhythm, when we were put on the lock on the 12th hole.”
Of his front nine, he said, “The first 11 holes were great. Five birdies till then gave me an outside chance. I holed a few nice putts inside 10 feet but missed another one or two between 15 and 20. But the going was good. Then I fell back (with a bogey on 12th).”
Commenting on his first top-10 finish since the tied fifth place at the 2015 PGA Championships, Lahiri said: “The game is definitely turning a corner. I am feeling good. Hopefully, I can build on this going further.”
Lahiri is also due to tee up at the Memorial next week and then he takes a week off before the US Open at Oakmont.
Spieth, who had nine pars on front nine, shifted gears on the back nine. He had three birdies in a row from 10th to 12th and again three in a row from 16th to 18th. He finished with a round of 65 that gave him a comfortable win at 17-under.
Second placed Harris English held at least a share of the lead for sometime just before and after the turn in the final round.
Local Ryan Palmer (68) and Webb Simpson (68) were tied for third while Kyle Riefers (68) was fifth.