Lahiri battles cold, wet and windy conditions to rise to third at Wells Fargo
India's Anirban Lahiri battled cold, wet and windy conditions to rise to the third place at the Wells Fargo Championship in Potomac, playing the third round of the golf event like a bruising and brutal boxing match.
The Indian ace, still looking for a breakthrough win on the PGA Tour after seven years, shot an even par 70, which looked likely to be much better till he came to home stretch.
He had birdies on eighth and nine, missed another on 10, but from 12th to 18th he dropped three shots while picking up just one more birdie on 14. Yet it was a great round considering the conditions.
Lahiri was 5-under and tied third but four shots behind Keegan Bradley, who for the second day running had the low round of the day. His 3-under 67 was the best on a day when there were just four sub-par rounds in the 60s.
The others came from Rory McIlroy (68) and Cameron Young (69) who are 2-under and tied sixth and Nick Taylor (69), who is -1 and T-13.
While Bradley led at 8-under 202, Max Homa (71) was 5-under and second, followed by Lahiri and James Hahn (72) at 5-under. Bradley, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, has never won after holding a 54-hole lead on the TOUR.
On another brutal day with sweeping winds, cold and rain, Lahiri compared his 70, which included three birdies and three bogeys, to a 12-round boxing match.
"It feels like I've just gone 12 rounds in a pro boxing match," said the 34-year-old Lahiri.
"You're fighting everything, you're fighting your body, the elements, the water, the cold, the conditions. Yeah, it's tough work and you just have to grit your teeth and kind of grind it out."
He sank successive birdie putts from 24 feet and 16 feet on the eighth and ninth hole respectively before missing a long range attempt from 70 feet on the 10th. He picked his third birdie of the day on 14 from eighth feet and dropped bogeys on hole Nos. 12, 15 and 18.
"Right now I'm a little disappointed I drove it really poorly on the back nine, so that's all I'm thinking about now, how do I hit more fairways coming in, how do I keep it in the short stuff, because even from the short stuff it's hard to judge it," he said.
"And if you're in the rough, it's getting to the point where it's just a hack-out because there's just so much water that the clubs -- you would have seen it, the club's just not getting through the grass at all.
"People are going to shoot some numbers out there, so I think as long as you're making pars and giving yourself looks at birdies, you're going to be in a decent spot.
"I guess people have quipped that I'm a good player in tough conditions or tough golf courses or bad weather, but I think all those things have the same thing in common and you have to kind of move on.
"You're going to hit some good shots that are going to end up in bad spots, but you just have to move on. I guess I enjoy the challenge of just accepting what's going on and just trying to move on and hit the next shot."
Coming into this week, Lahiri has played 157 tournaments on the PGA Tour, and finished runner-up twice – once at the 2017 Memorial Tournament and THE PLAYERS Championship in March. The latter earned him his career's big pay check of USD 2.18 million at the TOUR's flagship tournament.
After his effort at the TPC Sawgrass, which was also played under difficult conditions, Lahiri has posted two top-15s in his last three starts and moved to 55th on the FedExCup standings and is 85th in World Rankings.
In his third round, Lahiri will look to driving better as he found only nine fairways during his third round but was delighted with his iron play.
Defending champion and three-time Wells Fargo Championship winner McIlroy moved from T-50 to T-6 following a 2-under 68.
Halfway leader Jason Day shot 79 and dropped from 10-under to 1-under and was now T-13.
Chinese Taipei's C.T. Pan, and Korean duo Si Woo Kim and K.H. Lee carded matching 70s to share the 13th place on 1-under.
Disappointing finish for Indians as Korean Bio Kim wins Maekyung title
The Indian golfers at the 41st GS Caltex Maekyung Open ended their campaign on a disappointing note after a strong presence on the leader board for the first three days in Seongnam.
On Sunday, Viraj Madappa and Khalin Joshi, who were lying tied fifth, and Honey Baisoya, who was tied seventh, crumbled and dropped down.
Local star Bio Kim (72) won the title by two shots over fellow Korean Mingyu Cho (70). There were 13 Koreans in the Top-15.
Madappa, who was tied fifth overnight, had an early double bogey on second, further bogeys on 9 and 10 and closed with two more on 16 and 18. The three birdies in between just did not give him any room to make a run.
Joshi had four bogeys in the first seven holes, two more at the start of the back nine and a further two more on 16 and 18, while Honey Baisoya had four bogeys in first five holes and two on 16 and 18, just like Madappa and Joshi.
In short, it was mayhem and they gave themselves no chances.
Madappa still managed to hang in for tied 10th, but it must have been a big disappointment after seeming to contend for the middle two days. Baisoya finished tied 19th and Joshi was 33rd.
Karandeep Kochhar (71) was T-38, S Chikkarangappa ( 74) was T-43 as was Veer Ahlawat (74). Gaganjeet Bhullar (78) was T-68.
As the local Korean contingent dominated the event Bio Kim finally added another important trophy to his impressive collection of titles when he claimed the Maekyung Open. It was his first Asian Tour win.
A favourite coming into the week thanks to a purple patch that stretches back to the end of last year, he carded a battling final round one-over-par 72 to win on nine-under by two from Korean Mingyu Cho, who shot a 70, on a day when organisers estimated 8,000 fans attended.
Korean Kyong Jun Moon, winner of this event in 2015, finished third after shooting a 67. Last season's Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Joohyung Kim from Korea, closed with a 70 to end in joint fifth place.
It is the second time Bio Kim has won the tournament – which is one of the jewels in the crown of tournament golf in Korea, along with the Korea Open – although when he triumphed in 2012, it was not part of the Asian Tour.
The 31-year-old Bio Kim said, "It took all of me to win today. Namseoul Country Club is very difficult, and a lot of good players were chasing me.
"As I have been doing all week, and all year, I tried to stay in the present, clear my mind and not to think about things too much, like my four-shot lead on the back nine." He earned a cheque for USD 255,536.
A professional since 2009 he only became a member of the Asian Tour after graduating from the Qualifying School in 2020, where he tied fifth, just before the pandemic hit.
He played on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour early in his career before concentrating on competing in Korea, where he has been victorious on seven occasions, including this week.
The Asian Tour heads to Japan next week for the Asia Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup at Oarai Golf Club, from May 12-15.
Tvesa finishes 49th in Madrid Ladies Open
Indian golfer Tvesa Malik closed the week with a card that had 18 pars to finish T-49th at the Comunidad de Madrid Ladies Open.
Tvesa, who made the cut on the line, had a total of even par 72 and finished with a score of 1-over 289 at the Jarama-RACE Golf Club.
Tvesa, who now flies to Bangkok for next week’s Aramco Series’ first event of 2022 in Bangkok, had rounds of 73-71-73-72 for 289. She played steady through the day for 18 pars, though she had some birdie chances too.
The other two Indian players, Vani Kapoor and Amandeep Drall, had earlier missed the cut.
Promising Spaniard Ana Pelaez, who cracked nine-under 63 in the third round, had a 66 to finish at a record 23-under. She won by six shots over Linnea Strom of Sweden (64), who totalled 17-under.
Four players -- Pia Babnik (67), Manon De Roey (67), Gabriella Then (68) and Cayetana Fernandez (70) -- were tied for third at 15-under.
In the third round, Ana Pelaez, a 24-year-old from Malaga, shot a course-record nine-under-par 63 on moving day. She took a three shot lead into the final round.
Abhay Singh wins his first PSA tour title
An unseeded Abhay Singh of India won his first PSA tour title, defeating Robin Gadola of Switzerland, seeded five, 11-6, 14-16, 9-11, 11-9, 16-14 in the men’s final of the Archi Factory Open squash tournament here on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Abhay had produced the biggest upset of the Challenger 5 level tournament, when he defeated top-seeded Ivan Perez of Spain in three straight games in the second round.
Karnataka, UP, Goa and HP win in Sr Women National Hockey C'ship
Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Himachal Pradesh registered victories in their respective pool matches on the third day of the 12th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship here on Sunday.
In the first game of the day, Karnataka notched up a 3-0 win over Tamil Nadu in pool G with captain Pooja M D (3rd minute), Nisha P C (9th) and Shaina Thangamma (15th) scoring the goals.
Uttar Pradesh thrashed Delhi 7-0 in the second pool G match of the day. Shreya Singh (18th and 29th) struck a brace while Sarita Devi (7th), Sonal Tiwari (14th), Varsha Arya (50th), Pallavi Kumari (53rd) and Vinamrata Yadav (58th) were the other goal getters.
In the third pool G match of the day, Goa emerged 5-1 winners against Gujarat. Geeta Rathod (4th and 8th) and Veena Naik (5th and 33rd) struck a brace each while Melissa Fernandes (12th) scored the other goal for Goa.
Muskan Kureshi (27th) scored the consolation goal for Gujarat.
In a pool H contest, Himachal Pradesh beat Kerala 3-1 while Arunachal Pradesh were declared 5-0 winners after Andaman & Nicobar forfeited the match.
South Asian Championships to begin from May 8
The South Asian Junior and Cadet table tennis championship will begin at the Maldives Youth Centre indoor hall from Monday.
Besides the host Maldives, India, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal are the teams taking part in the three-day tournament.
The top two from junior boys and girls team events will qualify for the Asian junior and cadet championships.
Competitions will be held in team, singles and doubles events in junior and cadet categories respectively.
- Praveen Chandran