Lahiri placed tied 96th at Byron Nelson on PGA Tour

Lahiri, who missed the action last three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, felt he was playing around 75 per cent but was happy to get back to action.

India's Anirban Lahiri plays a shot during the RBC Heritage Golf tournament. (File Photo)   -  AP

India's Anirban Lahiri, who returned to action after recovering from COVID-19, hit the ball well but left a lot of putts inside 10 feet to card 2-under 70 for a tied 96th place in the first round of AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

Jordan Spieth and JJ Spaun carded 9-under 63 each to lead the field. Rafa Cabrera Bello was among four players at 8-under 64.

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Lahiri, who missed the action last three weeks, felt he was playing around 75 per cent but was happy to get back to action.

Starting from the 10th, Lahiri birdied the 11th and then had pars on next 11 holes, before he dropped a shot on fourth to fall to even for the round.

He missed at least half a dozen putts from 10 feet or under. Then he closed with back-to-birdies in eighth and ninth to finish at 2-under.

With the scores being low and 132 out of 156 players shooting par or under, Lahiri will need a solid second round to play the weekend.

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Leading the Asian challenge was Korea's KH Lee, who carded 7-under 65 and was in the hunt for a maiden PGA Tour win, despite the return of the Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama who came back with a 68 at TPC Craig Ranch on Thursday.

In a tournament that has been previously won by three Asian players, the 29-year-old Lee had eight birdies against a lone bogey to end the day two shots back of co-leaders Spaun and local favourite, Spieth.

Lee is bidding to follow in the footsteps of previous Asian winners Sung Kang (2019), Sangmoon Bae (2013) and Shigeki Maruyama (2002). The tournament was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The highlight of Spieth's spectacular round was a 55' 1" putt for eagle at the last hole for a bogey-free 9-under 63.

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