Back nine show ensures Lahiri makes cut at PGA Championships

With most of his putts from inside 10 feet refusing to drop on both days, Lahiri took his total to three-over 145 and was Tied 46th place.

Anirban Lahiri waits to play his shot on the third hole during the second round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.   -  AFP

A timely back nine recovery propelled Anirban Lahiri into the weekend action as the Indian made the cut at the 99th PGA Championships with a one over 72 in the second round here.

With most of his putts from inside 10 feet refusing to drop on both days, Lahiri took his total to three-over 145 and was Tied 46th place.

In a striking similarity to his first round, Lahiri once again made his recovery on the back nine despite missed putts after rather disappointing front nines.

Later, the course was evacuated on account of dangerous weather conditions and about one hour and 40 minutes play was lost. Play was suspended because of darkness and 26 players will come back in the morning to complete their second rounds.

With the course softening up after the rains, there were some terrific scores as Hideki Matsuyama (64) and Francesco Molinari (64) set new course records. Matsuyama joined Kevin Kisner in lead at eight-under while Jason Day (66) was six- under and sole third.

Molinari was tied fourth alongside Louis Oosthuizen (67) and Chris Stroud, who has five more holes to play. Rickie Fowler (70), Justin Thomas (66) and Paul Casey (70) were tied at three-under in Tied-seventh place.

“I hit the ball even better than yesterday (the first round), but again I had a start where I missed a 3-4 footer for par and began with a bogey. I just didn’t make any putts once again. Other than the two birdies I made, remaining putts didn’t drop,” Lahiri said.

Through the day, Lahiri missed five putts inside 10 feet, one of them inside four feet, He also missed two others between 10-12 feet and another one of 17 feet.

“My hitting from tee to green was very good and it has been so of late but I have not made much on the greens. I missed only three fairways in the second round and four in the first round. That should have got me better scores, because if you miss the green it is difficult to chip at times. I gave myself chances but missed a whole lot of putts,” he added.

Lahiri started the second round by dropping a shot on the first hole. He managed to hold pars on the next four, but then came a disastrous stretch with bogeys from seventh to ninth, the segment which provided succor a day earlier.

On the seventh he went into the rough and missed regulation and on eighth he missed an eight-footer for par. On the ninth he missed from just inside 10 feet. At the turn he was four-over for the day and five-over for the tournament.

Still, Lahiri managed to control his frustration and focus on the task at hand. Banishing negativity from his mind has been part of his work with his coach Vijay Divecha.

With that Lahiri once again began damage control on back nine.

He found his first birdie on 12th and then followed that up with five pars. Of those pars, at least a couple should have been converted into birdies from inside ten feet. On the final hole, he hit a great second shot to eight feet and this time he holed it for a nice finish.

“Walking off the 17th, I knew I was four-over and the cut was likely around that number. But I was not getting defensive. So, on the 18th I hit a good tee shot and I was in between clubs for the second and I picked the right club and got to eight feet to hole the putt.”

Defending champion Jimmy Walker made a 12-shot improvement on his first round 81, but still missed the cut.

Other big names missing the cut included Justin Rose (76-72), Bubba Watson (77-72), Sergio Garcia (75-75) and Danny Willett (73-79). Old warhorses Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els also missed cut on their 100th Major appearance.

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