Lahiri starts with one-under 71 at Farmers Insurance Open

Tony Finau is the leader after the opening round.

Anirban Lahiri in action.   -  AP

Anirban Lahiri brought home a card of one-under 71 to lie Tied 63rd after the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament on the North Course at Torrey Pines here today.

The Indian got off to a great start with three birdies against one bogey in the first four holes but he was unable to maintain the momentum and finally ended the day at 71 to lie six shots behind leader, Tony Finau (65).

The day’s proceedings were, however, all centered around the return of Tiger Woods, who brought back the crowds and got them roaring.

Read: Woods still shaking off rust on competitive return

Making his return for the first time since the Hero World Challenge, where he was ninth in a field of 18, Woods made a few mistakes but also displayed vintage shot making on his way to an even par 72.

Commenting on round, Woods said, “It was fun to compete again. It was fun to be out there.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm opened with a 68 on the South. He hit into the water with his second shot on the par-5 18th, but he saved par with a 15-foot putt.

American, Julian Suri, who is of Indian origin, is part of the 11-way tie for fourth after shooting a 4-under 68 on the South Course.

Lahiri opened his campaign on the tenth tee at the North Course and immediately the 10th, 12th and 13th with a bogey in between on par-4 11th.

But bogeys on 16th and 18th meant he turned only in even par. On his second nine, the front stretch of the course, Lahiri found birdies on second and seventh but dropped a shot on sixth and ended with a card of 71.

One of the things that hurt Lahiri on a good scoring day was that he managed just one birdie from four par-5s and that was on his first hole of the day.

Woods was seven shots behind leader Finau. Woods will play the North Course on Friday. Right now, he is on the bubble to make the cut. With virtually no wind on a day for reasonable scoring, he was tied for 84th.

Woods was steady on the South Course. But he was also spectacular on some of the occasions, like on the par-3 16th, when his shot rolled within eight inches of the cup for a nice birdie.

He had three birdies in all, and they offset the bogeys on first, fifth and par-5 13th, where he missed a short par putt. He had one birdie each on par-5, par-4 and par-3.

There were fans on either side of the fairway as Woods was in action in a full-fledged PGA Tour event for only the second time since August 2015.

That was right before he had a second and third surgery on his back, which kept him away for some 15 months. He returned at Torrey Pines last year and opened with a 76 on his way to missing the cut.

A week later, he withdrew after a 77 in Dubai with back spasms and was gone again. And then he played four rounds at Hero World Challenge.

The average score on the South was 71.62, compared with 71.31 on the North.

Lahiri’s opening round was nine shots better than his first round score at the same tournament last year when he shot an 80 and followed it up with a 70 to miss the halfway cut then.

Lahiri played four tournaments during the fall at the start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season and recorded a T10 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, T5 at CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea, T51 at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open and T14 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

He is currently ranked 43rd on the FedExCup standings.

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