Lahiri fires 65 to rise to T21

STEADY: India's Anirban Lahiri watches his shot during the second round of the Desert Classic on Friday. AFP

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri made a strong comeback on the second day, cruising to a seven-under 65 to rise from overnight 70th to tied-21st at the halfway mark of the Desert Classic here.

Lahiri, who shot 70 on the PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament Course on the first day, is now nine-under for 36 holes at the event, which is played like a Pro-Am.

Phil Mickelson birdied four of his last five holes on Friday to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend in his first event of the year.

After shooting a career-low 12-under 60 at La Quinta Country Club, the 48-year-old Mickelson had a 68 on Nicklaus Tournament Course to get to 16-under.

Curtis Luck was second after a 66 on the Nicklaus layout. The 22-year-old Australian rebounded from a bogey on the par-3 eighth with a closing birdie on the par-4 ninth.

Lahiri, who missed a lot of makeable putts on the first day at the Stadium Course, had five birdies on the front nine.

He started with a birdie on second and then dropped a shot on third. He got back to under par with a birdie on fourth and then had three in a row from seventh to ninth.

He birdied 13th to get to five-under and closed birdie-birdie on 17-18 to card 65.

Bhullar finishes 27th

Gaganjeet Bhullar made a solid start to his year, finishing tied 27th in the USD 7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first Rolex Series event of the season on the European Tour, on Saturday.

The 30-year-old from Kapurthala shot an even-par 72 in his final round to tally seven-under par 281 for the tournament, which was won by Ireland's Shane Lowry (71) after an epic battle with Richard Sterne of South Africa.

Sterne (69) started the day three shots behind Lowry, but birdied four of his first five holes to get off to a hot start. He led by four shots after 12 holes but closed with two bogeys while Lowry made three birdies coming in.

The 31-year-old Irishman finished on 18-under par 270 and is expected to rise to No 40 in the world ranking.

Chikka makes cut

S Chikkarangappa (72) and Arjun Atwal (70) were the only Indians to make the cut at the SMBC Singapore Open on Saturday after all others missed getting into the weekend rounds in Sentosa.

Chikkarangappa, who was lying tied-sixth at one stage midway through the second round, added a third round 72, with just one bogey and no birdies. He is now tied-26th.

Atwal, who shot 67-73 in the first two rounds, added a 70 and is now tied-36th. After starting from the 10th, Atwal had back-to-back bogeys on 12th and 13th.

Shiv Kapur (71-71), Ajeetesh Sandhu (70-74), Rahil Gangjee (76-71), Khalin Joshi (76-73) and Viraj Madappa (77-73) missed the cut while Jeev Milkha Singh and Om Prakash Chouhan withdrew after first round of the weather-hit event.

Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto had a closing birdie which gave him the outright lead after he signed for a third round five-under-par 66.

The Japanese's three-day total of 13-under-par 200 gave him a slender one-shot advantage over Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond and Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick who posted rounds of 65 and 66 respectively at the season-opening event of the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

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Lahiri fires 65 to rise to T21

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