Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri shot a fantastic five-under 65 in the opening round to grab a share of the second spot, just one stroke behind leader Bryce Molder in the Dean & Deluca Invitational at the Colonial.
Lahiri holed a lot of putts and made good use of conditions despite play being halted for an hour and a half because of threat of lightning after he had played just three holes.
Lahiri, one of the early starters from the tenth tee, is sharing the second spot with Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson.
Lahiri had seven birdies and two bogeys. Starting on the 10th, he birdied 11th from nine feet, the 14th from 20 feet and the 18th from six feet. But he also three-putted from 26 feet on 15th and from 22 feet on 17th, which included a four-footer miss for par.
On the second nine, the front side of the course, Lahiri missed a four-footer for birdie on first, but then putted well. His steady play saw him navigate the stretch between third and fifth holes, called the “Horrible Horseshoe” with three straight pars. It was his fine iron play on the last few holes that stood out and served him well, hitting it close.
“I have been playing well, but not been scoring well over the weekends,” said Lahiri.
On his Thursday round, he added,”Oh, I love it. It reminds me of my favorite track back in India, the Delhi Golf Club (where he has won four of his seven professional international titles). It’s all about navigation. You don’t have to go bombs away on every tee, and I really like that. You have to think your way around the golf course and play to your strengths, and yeah, I enjoy playing tracks like this.”
He admitted,”I think I hit it pretty good all day. There was a couple of stutters in the middle. I did three-putt a couple of times from inside 25 feet. That was not fun, but I think I got my focus back straight after that miss on 1 and finished strong, yeah.
“When we started out, I think the first four or five holes were really hard. It was raining, it was gusting ((almost 15-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph) quite a bit, as well, and then it just kind of calmed down.
“I think the last nine holes that we played were probably ideal for scoring. Obviously, the rains have made the greens a little bit soft, quite receptive, so you can be aggressive. Yeah, I think it’s a great track, and if you can find enough fairways, you can really take advantage.”
Lahiri concluded,”I hit it rock solid most of the time today. Hopefully, I can keep it going. Maybe the fact that this track reminds me of Delhi Golf Club helps.”