Honda Classic: Anirban Lahiri moves to tied-19th

Vijay Singh, with a round of 65, stays in contention for a historic title triumph.

Anirban Lahiri, on Saturday, reached only seven greens in regulation out of 18.   -  AP

India’s Anirban Lahiri secured a one-over 72 and slipped to tied-19th at the Honda Classic here on Saturday. After rounds of 67 and 70 on the first two days, Lahiri was two-under for three days.

It has been a low-scoring week at the event. On Saturday, Lahiri did manage a majority of the fairways, hitting 10 of the 14, but he did not find as many greens as the first two days. He reached only seven greens in regulation out of 18. Yet, on the Par-4 395-yard fourth hole, he found a fairway bunker and still hit his second shot close enough for a birdie.

On the very next hole, he missed a rare putt inside 10 feet — this one was nine feet — for par, and gave away a bogey. On the 12th, he again missed par from 10 feet, and the rest of the day, he had pars, mostly from inside five or six feet. Two holes later on 15th, Lahiri missed an eight-footer for birdie.

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Rookie Wyndham Clark (67), at seven-under, held a one-shot lead over Fiji’s Vijay Singh (65), who is bidding to become the oldest ever winner on the PGA Tour. Vijay was tied with Korean Kyoung-Hoon Lee (68) and Keith Mitchell (70). Rickie Fowler, who has one win this season already, was fifth at five-under.

At the cusp

Saturday’s round of 65 put Vijay just 18 holes away from history. If he wins, he will break Sam Snead’s record of winning at 52 years, 10 months, 8 days, at the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. Just six other players have won PGA Tour events in their 50s, the most recent being Davis Love III, who was 51 when he won the Wyndham Championship in 2015.

Just three years ago, Vijay was tied sixth at The Honda Classic, and he was runner-up at the 2016 Quicken Loans National, finishing with a final-round 65. That was also his last top-10 finish on Tour. In the time since, putting has been his problem, but this week, he has overcome that.

Vijay Singh is bidding to become the oldest winner on the PGA Tour. Photo: AP

 

Clark, the leader, has been much more prolific in the past year. From struggling for a card on web.com, he won on it and then this year, he made the PGA Tour by finishing 16th in the web.com Order of Merit.

Now he finds himself on the threshold of a maiden win, after coming on the strength of a top-10 finish at Puerto Rico last week. He wants to win it to honour his mother, who had passed away in 2013. She helped him take up golf at age six, around the time Vijay won the second of his two Majors.