India's Anirban Lahiri had yet another disappointing start as he carded a 1-over 73 in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament here.
Lahiri, who has missed the cut in his last three starts, had two birdies against three bogeys. The Indian was lying tied-63rd and would need to get a better score to ensure weekend action.
Rory McIlroy, the 2016 and 2019 FedExCup champion, holds a two-stroke lead after a sizzling 65 which included a 41-foot eagle at the par-5 16th. It was the longest eagle putt of his PGA TOUR career.
Lahiri hit eight of the 18 greens in regulation. Starting on the 400-yard par-4 10th, he had a bogey after hitting the green in three and missed a par from just over six feet.
Lahiri then bogeyed the 458-yard par-4 18th, getting on the green in four and one putting.
After a 283 yard drive on the par-5 fourth, Lahiri chipped his third shot to seven feet, which he rolled in for a birdie. On the par-5 sixth, he had a birdie.
Late in the round on the eighth, his 17th hole, Lahiri went into the rough on second but hit to six feet with his third shot. He missed the par putt and finished one-over for the day.
Asia’s best came from Korea’s Sungjae Im, who produced a solid 4-under 68 to match his tournament low score and sit in a share of fifth place.
The 23-year-old Im showed his fondness for Bay Hill Club and Lodge as he took advantage of the par-5s with birdies on each of the four holes on No. 12, 16, 4 and 6, in addition to another birdie on the par-3 14th hole after starting his day from the 10th.
In three previous appearances at the USD 12 million showpiece, which is one of three elevated events on the PGA TOUR, Im finished top-3 in 2019 and 2020 while he came in tied 21st last season.
Countryman Si Woo Kim carded a bogey-free 69 for tied 11th position while K.H. Lee was a stroke back following a 70.