Lahiri lies second despite closing double in CIMB

Anirban Lahiri, playing at a venue, where a victory 18 months ago was the catalyst in lifting him onto the world stage, put himself in contention for his maiden PGA Tour title, when he added a second successive 66 to move within two shots of the lead at the halfway stage of CIMB Classic, here on Friday.

Anirban Lahiri of India plays a shot during day two of the 2016 CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.   -  Getty Images

Playing at a venue, where a victory 18 months ago was the catalyst in lifting him onto the world stage, Anirban Lahiri put himself in contention for his maiden PGA Tour title, when he added a second successive 66 to move within two shots of the lead at the halfway stage of CIMB Classic, here on Friday.

Lahiri who has shot 66-66 at the USD 7 million CIMB Classic, the only event in Asia co-sanctioned by Asian and PGA Tour events, is now tied-second after 36 holes.

Defending champion Justin Thomas, helped by a closing double bogey by the till-then bogey-free Lahiri, pulled two shots clear of the Indian. Thomas has rounds of 64-66.

Meanwhile, Gaganjeet Bhullar (70) was two-under for 36 holes and tied-54th, while S.S.P. Chawrasia (74) was two-over in tied-73rd.

Lahiri was poised to tie Thomas but suffered a double bogey at par five 18th hole, the second straight day he has dropped two shots at the end of his round.

The par-72, 7,005 yards TPC KL is where Lahiri won the Malaysian Open and then added the Hero Indian Open to make the world’s top-50 and subsequently the PGA Tour.

The 23-year-old American Thomas, has held at least a share of the lead since last year’s second round, and on Friday he put together six birdies on his card for a 14-under-par 130 total.

Scotsman Russell Knox produced the round of the day with a brilliant nine-birdie 63 to charge into a share of third position with American James Hahn and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, who both carded 64s.

“I’ve been playing well. Both yesterday and today I’ve played good. I think I played solid right through. It’s just very disappointing to finish the way I did. Both days I think I left four or five shots out there coming in. Yeah, I would have liked to be in a better position the way I’ve played but it’s not over yet,” said Lahiri.

About pushing himself and setting standards, he said, “I expect myself to hit it closer than what I do sometimes. I set myself high standards and sometimes I might look disappointed but it’s a way of me pushing myself to get better. It’s not in any way disrespectful or arrogant. It’s just the way I am. I’ve always been that way.”

Lahiri’s iron play was superb as he found almost all greens and said, “I was very accurate and I put some work in with my coach earlier in the week. Last week was a bit of a struggle. Obviously I seem to be finding my rhythm a lot better. I think having played this course a few times, you kind of know what to do. Yeah, I think if I can keep doing what I’m doing, keep giving myself looks, then I can make a few more.”