Millennium Post

Chawrasia best Indian at fifth as Lahiri’s sparkles at the finish

Defending champion, Anirban Lahiri, produced a late surge with four birdies in a row on last four holes to leapfrog from even par to four-under 68 in the Hero Indian Open at the Delhi Golf Club. He was however, still three behind the little-known American Daniel Im, who shot a flawless seven-under 65 in the calm morning conditions.

One shot behind Im was the burly Thai, Prom Meesawat, who has worked hard on his fitness. He shot 66, and late in the evening he was joined by the Spanish duo Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira, who identical 66s at the US$1.66 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Lahiri sparkled but the best Indian was India’s SSP Chawrasia, who has been the runner-up four times, including the last two times at the Hero Indian Open. Chawrasia overcame the agony of a double bogey with seven birdies, that included gains on each of the four par-fives and he was Tied-fifth.

Chawrasia had another Indian, Sanjay Kumar, a 44-year-old domestic star, for company besides the rising Korean golfer, Wang Jeunghun, Terry Pilkadaris and Raphael Jacquelin, who had an eagle and hole-in-one in his 67. Chawrasia said, “It was a good start to the tournament. Now, it’s important to build on that for the next three days. Today my putting was good and I made some good recoveries.  I also had a chip-in on the second hole from just over the green from 15-18 feet.

“My driving overall was decent except on the 16th when I pulled to the left and went into the bushes.  I tried to chip out but couldn’t make the up and down from just 10-12 feet.” “I did not take my driver to the course and I had decent sized putts, quite of few them were between 12-15 feet and I also had a chip-in.” Lahiri made two birdies and two bogeys during an average front nine before back-to-back birdies around the turn seemed to ignite his title defence. But he gave those two shots back on the third and fourth holes. While walking from the fifth green to sixth tee, Lahiri focused on the things he and his coach Vijay Divecha had worked on during the last few days. That sparked him to make four birdies in a row and in his own words, he said, “I dodged the bullet.”

“Coming down the final stretch from the sixth to the ninth, it was nice to roll a few in. Walking down after the fourth, I told my caddie I haven’t played badly but I was five or six behind and the guys up there had made a fast start. The key was to stay in touch somehow. You don’t want to go too far behind, so I needed to gain some ground and stay in touch.
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