Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri carded 3-under 69 in the third round to be at tied-16th and four shots behind the leaders at the Valero Texas Open here.
Lahiri, who earlier had rounds of 68 and 73, was trying to get back to full flow after being unwell last week.
The 34-year-old, who finished runner-up at THE PLAYERS Championship three weeks ago, made three birdies on his homeward nine at TPC San Antonio to sit on 6-under 210 as he chases a first PGA TOUR victory.
He was sitting at Tied-16th, up from overnight T-27.
Four players -- Brandt Snedeker (67), Beau Hossler (67), Dylan Frittelli (70) and J.J. Spaun (69) -- shared the third-round lead at the USD 8.6 million tournament with three-day totals of 10-under 206.
Korea’s Si Woo Kim hit five birdies for a 68 to lie in tied seventh position, three back.
Lahiri entered the week hopeful of landing a first win, following a memorable outing at THE PLAYERS where he finished second to Cameron Smith of Australia and earned a career-high USD 2.18 million.
After trading two birdies against as many bogeys on his front nine, Lahiri produced some wonderful iron play to snare birdies on the 10th, 17th and 18th holes following putts from inside of nine feet.
“It’s nice to get a couple (of birdies) in. I've just kind of struggled the last couple of days with my mental energy as I was ill all of last week," said Lahiri.
"I think yesterday on the back nine especially, I started feeling that wave of exhaustion having recovered from illness, so I think today my caddie did a great job of fuelling me and keeping my energy up and I was able to kind of push myself.” Changes made to the set-up of his irons -- he added 3.5 grams of weight to the clubheads -- since THE PLAYERS have worked like a charm as he is presently ranked inside the top-30 for 'Strokes Gained: Approach the Greens' through 54 holes. He was ranked 159th in the same category at the end of last season.
While he is four shots back with 18 holes remaining, Lahiri feels he can put in a low number on the last day to potentially challenge the leaders.
The winner of the Valero Texas Open will earn an exemption into next week’s Masters Tournament, which is also on Lahiri’s mind.
“I feel like I'm playing really, really well but I just haven't played very sharp. Yesterday, I struggled a little bit on the greens and today, I didn’t quite take advantage of some of the holes that I would have liked to,” said Lahiri, who finished fifth in the event here last season.
Four players Brandt Snedeker (67), Beau Hossler (67), Dylan Frittelli (70) and JJ Spaun (69) were tied for the 54-hole lead.
Of the top 20 players on the leaderboard, only Si Woo Kim, Gary Woodland and Lucas Glover are in next week’s Masters Tournament field.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth turns in a 2-over 74, just his fifth over-par score in 25 rounds in the event.
Among the big names who missed the cut were Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.
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