3M Open: Arjun Atwal tied-fourth after first round

The 46-year-old Indian shoots a six-under 65 in an impressive round of golf. Compatriot Anirban Lahiri is tied-92nd.

Arjun Atwal’s first and only PGA Tour title was clinched in 2010.   -  Getty Images (File Photo)

India’s Arjun Atwal shot six-under 65 to occupy the fourth position after the first round of the inaugural 3M Open here.

The 46-year-old Atwal, who earned the vital spot through a qualifier on Monday, began sedately to be even par for the front nine. He, then, went on a birdie spree, with four in five holes. He closed the day with an eagle, chipping in his third shot from 130 yards.

Atwal’s compatriot Anirban Lahiri started from the 10th. He rode a roller-coaster with a superb first nine and a disappointing second nine, to finish on an even-par 71 and occupy the tied-92nd position. He is now under pressure to play a good second round to make the cut.

Atwal, the former Asia No. 1, is one of five players at six-under 65. The others are Brian Harman, Sungjae Im, Patton Kizzire and Sam Saunders. Atwal has more than 200 PGA Tour appearances but just win. He is, however, the only Indian to have won a PGA Tour title, in 2010. On that occasion, too, he had come through a Monday qualifier. He had become the first player in 24 years to take that route to the title.

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Atwal had one birdie on the second hole but he gave away the gains by dropping a shot on the seventh, where he was unable to get out of the bunker cleanly. On the second nine, he birdied from just six feet on 10th, from nine feet on 11th and from 12-and-a-half feet on 12th for a hat-trick of birdies. He added one more on 14th after a fine second shot from 126 yards to six feet and he holed it. Two pars later on the 17th, his birdie attempt from 11 feet just slid past and on the 18th, he had 130 yards to the pin for his third shot and he hit a perfect chip for an eagle finish.

In the 2019 season, Atwal has played three tourneys, making the cut in one — at Puerto Rico, where he was 70th.

Lahiri, in contrast, had a less impressive outing. He was three-under through his first nine holes with birdies on 12th, 14th and 17th. The last putt came from nearly 20 feet and promised more for the second nine. But he suddenly lost his way. He had double bogeys on second and ninth, and in between had one more bogey on fourth against two birdies on third and seventh, for a 71.

Scott Piercy leads the pack, with a nine-under 62. Behind him are Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama in joint-second.

Aditi tied-69th in LPGA Classic

India’s Aditi Ashok shot two-under 70 for a tied-69th position after the first round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, U.S.

China’s Yu Liu tied the course record with a 10-under 62 for a one-shot lead.

Aditi birdied second, seventh, ninth and 13th, but dropped shots on first and 17th. Last week Aditi was T-18th at Arkansas and that has been her best finish this season.