Wyndham Championship: Anirban Lahiri cards one-under in first round

Anirban Lahiri missed putts inside five feet and on four other occasions was 10-11 feet or less from the hole.

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri shot a one-under 69 at the Wyndham Championship.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri shot a one-under 69 at the Wyndham Championship while Arjun Atwal was two-under in an opening round halted by inclement weather in North Carolina, USA, on Thursday.

Lahiri missed putts inside five feet and on four other occasions was 10-11 feet or less from the hole. Considering he was competing after a long time, Lahiri hit the ball well, finding 10 of the 14 fairways and 13 of the 18 greens, but his putting prevented him from finishing with a better card. He had two birdies but one bogey in the first round, and was tied 67th (T67).

Lahiri, whose last tournament win came in 2015 at the Hero Indian Open, had travelled to India for the same event earlier this year and then stayed back as the Covid-19 outbreak spread across the world.

“With my status for the next season protected, I used the time off to work on my game, and I had not spent an extended period with my coach. That has helped,” he said.

Atwal, the winner of the 2010 Wyndham Championship who is playing this week with a sponsor’s exemption, looked set for a great start as he was four-under through 16 holes, but then double-bogeyed the 17th just as play was stopped because of the weather.

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Atwal birdied both par-fives on the course – the fifth and the 15th – and also had birdies on the third and eighth holes on the front nine and another one on the 12th. He dropped a shot on the sixth. When he came to 17th tee, he was four-under, but he went to the right rough. He fell short of the green on his third and was on the fringe and needed three from there for the double.

Placed at two-under, Atwal will complete his round with the 18th on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Harold Varner III, Tom Hoge and Roger Sloan each shot eight-under 62 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour’s final regular-season event before the FedExCup playoffs.

Varner went low at Sedgefield Country Club with eight birdies and no bogeys as he matched his career best. Hoge and Sloan, playing together, followed suit later in the round.

Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose had a rough day, as the former was 10 shots behind the leading trio with 72 and the latter carded 73.

The leading trio was followed by Harris English (64), who was ahead of a large group at five-under that included Patrick Reed. Former US Open champion Webb Simpson led another pack at four-under 66.

Thirty-three players on the course had not finished when the round was suspended due to bad weather.

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Topsy-turvy start for Shubhankar 

India’s Shubhankar Sharma registered an erratic even-par 71 in the first round of the inaugural Celtic Classic golf tournament. Sharma, the winner of two European Tour titles in 2018, is Tied-71st and needs a solid second round to avoid missing a third successive cut. Sharma birdied the third and fourth to be two-under through four holes, but he gave away those gains on fifth and sixth and turned in even par.

Shubhankar had two bogeys on the 10th and 14th, putting him at two-over, but he fought back with birdies on the 15th and 18th to get back to even par. “Those birdies gave me the confidence for the action in the second round,” said Sharma.