Lahiri sets the course on fire

Localite cards 10-under 62 to jump to lead; Sanjay second

Favourite Anirban Lahiri produced a jaw-dropping performance to set himself up for a maiden tilt at glory on Wednesday at his beloved home course -- the Eagleton Golf Resort

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After disappointing his group of followers with a scratchy opening-round 73, the 26-year-old stormed back to the top of the leaderboard in stupendous fashion, firing a blistering 10-under 62 in the PGTI-Eagleburg Open.

The three-time Asian Tour winner, who thus overtook the course record of 64 held jointly by Sanjay Kumar, Harmeet Kahlon and AS Lehal but which will not be considered because of the preferred lies in place for this event, opened up a one-shot advantage over Sanjay (67).

“It was pretty close to a dream round,” said an ecstatic Lahiri, who holds the record for the joint lowest-to-par score in a single round ever recorded in India -- a scorching 12-under 60 at Jaypee Greens in 2011. “I didn’t miss a single green today and had eight one-putts. I felt good about my hitting as I did not hit bad golf shots unlike the first round. I was very calm through the day and judged the speed of the greens to perfection,” said Lahiri after totalling 135 for two rounds.

After a largely frustrating Tuesday, where he struggled with both driving and putting, Lahiri on Wednesday came up with a magical effort on the day, turning everything into gold. In fine form this season that has seen him already rake up one Asian Tour title (SAIL-SBI Open), Lahiri struck the ball beautifully as he has ever done, hardly missing a fairway or a green. His short game too was at its sharpest, holing almost everything within the vicinity of the cup and pulling off some real long ones too as claps after claps ensued his stellar show.

Playing with a steely determination, Lahiri kick-started his round in just the way he wanted, notching up a hat-trick of birdies. A 10th tee starter, he missed a 30-footer putt for an eagle on the opening hole but calmly rolled in a birdie from given.

He then sunk two 15-footers on the 11th and 12th before missing another eagle on the par-5 15th. His chip from the edge of the green landed the ball just close to the pin and while he rued at another miss, Lahiri sunk the next shot for his fourth birdie.

If his front-nine show was hot, his inward journey was simply red-hot, nailing another six birdies. He sunk a six-footer on the first, rolled in a superb 20-footer on the third beore missing a third eagle of the day on fourth where he two-putted from 15 feet. Birdies followed on the fifth, seventh and ninth holes as he capped a flawless show that has raised hopes of him ending a title duck at his home course.

Meanwhile, another local pro S Chikkarangappa too clawed his way back into contention, shooting five-under 67 to rise to tied fourth at 139.


Leading scores (after 36 holes): 135: Anirban Lahiri (73, 62); 136: Sanjay Kumar (69, 67); 137: K Prabagaran (68, 69); 139: Abhinav Lohan (70, 69), S Chikkarangappa (72, 67), Rahil Gangjee (68, 71), Arshpreet Thind (68, 71), Naman Dawar (71, 68); 140: Vikrant Chopra (70, 70); Rahul Bajaj (71, 69); 141: Shankar Das (70, 71).

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