Anirban Lahiri overcame a mid-round blip to card two-under 68 and place himself tied-fifth at the end of the first round of the World Golf Championships on Friday.
Lahiri had five birdies against three bogeys, two of which came on eighth and ninth.
The 28-year-old Indian, whose best result this year has been on the European and Asian Tours with a second in Hero Indian Open at home, is chasing his first title in his first full year on the PGA Tour. Lahiri was one of the only 17 players, who broke par and the leader was one of his playing partners, William McGirt, who shot six-under 64 with six birdies and no bogeys.
Interestingly, McGirt had won his first PG Tour title also in Ohio at the Memorial. He opened with six birdies and finished with a 45-foot par for a 6-under 64 and a three-shot lead. This is McGirt’s debut at a World Golf Championships event.
In warm sunshine and fast conditions at Firestone, Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 player, was one of the three players at 67, while Jordan Spieth somehow managed to post a 68 despite having only one birdie attempt, which he missed, in his first 10 holes. Emiliano Grillo and Jimmy Walker also were at 67 with Day, while Spieth was joined by Rickie Fowler, Lahiri and Charley Hoffman.
US Open champion Dustin Johnson had pars, two birdies and a bogey for his 69. Of the 61 players, who started 58 are left as Daniel Berger withdrew after his opening tee shot with a shoulder injury, while Brooks Koepka withdrew after 13 holes with an ankle injury. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, withdrew after a 78.
The field also was missing Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Danny Willett, who along with many European Tour players are featuring in the French Open this week.