Lahiri sizzles on back nine to climb to tied third at Travelers

A back-nine eagle elevated Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri to five-under 65 in the penultimate round for a share of the third spot in the Travelers Championship.

Anirban Lahiri puts himself in contention for the title though England’s Paul Casey was on fire during his eight-under 62 that gave him a four-shot lead over second placed Russell Henley (67).   -  AFP

A back-nine eagle elevated Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri to five-under 65 in the penultimate round for a share of the third spot in the Travelers Championship.

Lahiri, thus, puts himself in contention for the title though England’s Paul Casey was on fire during his eight-under 62 that gave him a four-shot lead over second placed Russell Henley (67).

Casey was at 16-under 194 to Henley’s 12-under at TPC River Highlands here.

Lahiri, JB Holmes, with whom the Indian plays his final round, and Brian Harman (69) are at 11-under in tied third position.

Lahiri scored three birdies and an eagle on the back nine and a bogey and a birdie in the front nine.

Well, it (a win) is obviously one of my goals. It’s something that I set out to do when I moved base here two-and-a-half years ago. It hasn’t been a special season so far, so obviously there’s never a bad time to win. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing and if I keep moving in the right direction, it will come sooner rather than later,” Lahiri said about his chances of winning the title here.

Lahiri termed his performance on the penultimate round as a contrasting one.

It was a day of contrast. I think in front nine I missed everything and I felt totally out of sorts. I think my short game and my scrambling on the front side just kept me alive.

I started on a good note. Birdied the first, and gave one away on second. I think early in the round I hadn’t quite adjusted. The greens were really quick and I didn’t hit a lot of fairways on the front, so just tried to get up-and-down and kind of grind it out,” he said explaining his game.

“Then I hit a really good one on 11, almost holed out, and I think that really got my round going. After that I was pretty locked in and really happy to come in strong.”

Lahiri got a little lucky on the 13th as his second shot got a nice bounce and was eight inches from the flag for a nice eagle.

I think after that I hit a lot of good shots, he said.

Jason Day (66) and Bubba Watson (67) are among those at 10-under for a share of tied sixth position, while Rory McIlroy (69), whose opening tee shot was delayed because a squirrel sat in front of him at the tee box, is tied 15.

Justin Thomas (70) is tied 32nd and US Open winner Brooks Koepka (69) is tied 38th while defending champion Jordan Spieth (71) is tied 46th.

Casey finished second in 2015, tied 17th in 2016 and fifth last year at Travelers. Casey, who won the Valspar in Florida in March for his first PGA TOUR title in nine years, called the bogey-free third round his best of the year.

The Englishman had six birdies and an eagle -- at the signature par-4 15th hole -- where he hit his tee shot onto the green and then sank a 23-foot putt.

Russell Henley was 12-under after a 67 while Holmes (65), Lahiri (65) and third-round leader Harman (69) were 11-under.

Modest finish for Indians at Korea Open

S. Chikkarangappa was the best among Indians on a fairly disappointing day for his fellow countrymen in the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship as he finished Tied-28th after returning a 1-over 72 card in the final round.

Chikka had two birdies on the front nine but dropped a double bogey and a bogey on back nine.

Khalin Joshi carded 73 and was T-32nd.

Ajeetesh Sandhu (75) was 3-over 287 for the week to finish T-37th while Gaganjeet Bhullar (74) finished at 6-over 290 and T-53rd.

Rahil Gangjee (73) was T-57 and Chiragh Kumar (77) was T-71.

The 30-year-old Korea’s Minchel Choi held off the challenge of compatriot Sanghyun Park by sinking a birdie on the last hole to win the title.

Choi’s final round two-under-par 69 not only confirmed him as the newest champion of his National Open but also earned him a ticket to The Open in Carnoustie next month.

Sanghyun Park (71) finished with two birdies in his last four holes to end at 12-under-par 272 and settled for second place.

Koreans dominated their National Open with only Americans Kevin Na and John Catlin breaking into the top-10 with their tied-fifth finish.