Aggressive Lahiri improves best at Sony Open in Hawaii; rises in third round

A Correspondent Honolulu | Updated on January 17, 2021

Anirban Lahiri

Anirban Lahiri improved his career-low score at the Sony Open in Hawaii for the second time in 24 hours. He shot 6-under 64 and rose to equal 17th position in a round that featured a double bogey against eight birdies.

Lahiri took three-round aggregate to 12-under in his first start on the PGA TOUR in 2021. The Indian looking for his first since the 2015 Hero Indian Open is five behind the new leader, Brendan Steele (61).

Lahiri’s 64 included a double bogey on 18th, his ninth hole, and a couple of lip outs.

Starting on the back nine of the Waialae course, Lahiri, made fair use of the conditions on a day when the scoring was low, and it included a 61 by the leader, Steele, and Kevin Na, who shares the second place with Mexican Joaquin Niemann.

Lahiri now in his seventh year on the PGA TOUR, said, “Except for that blunder on 18, I think I did a good job. I think even on the front nine (of the course) I played really well. It was unfortunate I had a couple of very aggressive lip outs else I could have probably shot another couple of shots so that just tells you how well I feel right now. I will try my best and maybe replicate this or go even better and keep a clean card.”

After missing a birdie from eight feet on 12th, his second hole of the day, Lahiri rolled in three in a row with superb iron shots getting him within five feet.

Then came the blunder on 18th. His aggressive tee shot caught the palm and then he went out of bounds, leading to a penalty. It ended in a double bogey on Par-5 where he had a birdie the previous two days.

Lahiri said, “I think I was a victim of getting a little over-aggressive. Probably because I knew that I had to shoot at least 10 under to get within 2-3 shots off the lead. The course is playing easy, so you know you have to shoot extremely low to have a shot. I was trying to make eagle on the 18th hole which is basically a tee box that's guarded with many tall palm trees. You have to hit a very, very high, and a very, very big hook. I got the hook part right but I didn't hit it high enough so it crashed into the coconut or palm tree.” Then he went out of bounds by two yards.

On his second nine, Lahiri had five birdies, on the second and fourth and then again another hat-trick from seventh to ninth to close with a 64. His iron play was spot on and only two of his eight birdies came from more than 15 feet – from 25 feet on second and 17 feet on seventh.

He added, “I hit the ball really well with my irons I had them really close. So, it wasn't a case of making that many putts from long range, really happy with the way I'm striking the ball.”

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a 4-under 66 in the third round to be five shots off the lead. Matsuyama, a five-time PGA TOUR winner, made one eagle, three birdies and a lone bogey and is the top Asian in the field.

Published on January 17, 2021

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