Lahiri recovers from early blow to be T-32 at RBC Heritage

Anirban Lahiri cards a 2-under 69, registering four birdies en route, in the first round of RCB Heritage in South Carolina, U.S.

Anirban Lahiri plays his shot on the 15th hole during the first round of RCB Heritage on Friday.   -  AFP

India's Anirban Lahiri recovered from an early blow to card a 2-under 69 in the opening round of RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina, U.S., on Friday. He was tied-32th.

Lahiri pulled in his weight after a double bogey on the par-3 14th following a 10th tee start. He made some amends with a birdie on the 15th and then three more birdies without any bogeys fetched him a 69.

Currently 55th on the FedEx Cup standings and looking to strengthen his place, Lahiri hit 12 of the 18 greens in regulation and putted well with no misses inside 10 feet. After four pars, he hit his tee shot on the 192-yard par-3 14th into the water. After a penalty drop, Lahiri's approach went 103 yards to the green from where he two-putted for a double bogey. On the very next hole, he hit a 309-yard drive on the 588-yard par-5 15th and chipped his third to two feet for his first birdie and turned in 1-over.

Fighting back

Harbour Town’s tight, tree-lined fairways and small greens demand accuracy and Lahiri seemed to find them after the initial blip.

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Lahiri hit his tee shot into the waste bunker on par-4 third, but came out of it with a superb 194-yard second shot to three feet for a birdie. On the par-5 569-yard fifth hole, he chipped his third shot to two feet after a 293-yard drive to get to 1-under. Following a drive to the left side of the fairway on the 419-yard par-4 sixth hole, Lahiri had a 166-yard approach shot to just over two feet setting himself up for another birdie, which moved him to 2-under for the round.

Cameron Young shot an 8-under 63 to take the first-round lead in his RBC Heritage debut. Trailing Young was Chile’s Joaquin Niemann at 6-under and two behind.

Young, 24, a PGA Tour rookie, had eight birdies in a bogey-free round. He led Niemann by two shots and was three ahead of seven others, including reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay, Ireland’s Shane Lowry, and Canada’s Corey Conners, sixth at Augusta National.

Also lying T-3 were Mito Pereira of Chile, past RBC Heritage winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Adam Svensson of Canada, and Sepp Straka of Austria. They all shot 66. Ten players were at 67, including 48-year-old defending champion Stewart Cink. Webb Simpson, 2-under and T-32 alongside Lahiri, made five consecutive birdies, becoming the first player since 1983 to birdie Nos. 14-18 at Harbour Town Golf Links in a single round.

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