Sep 27: Anirban Lahiri shot his best round on the PGA Tour since 2018 as he carded a bogey-free 8-under 64 that catapulted him into the Top-10 after 54 holes in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
A chat with his coach, Vijay Divecha on iron and wedge play, which he felt needed work, helped Lahiri reap rich dividends. Lahiri added a 64 to his earlier rounds of 69-72 to get to 11-under and rose from overnight T-54 to T-2 but with others finishing later he was T-7th by the end of the day.
Adam Long (64) was 17-under and two clear of Hudson Swafford (69) at 15-under.
India’s other star in the field, Arjun Atwal added 69 to his earlier rounds of 73-68 and is now 6-under and T-36, up from overnight T-54.
Lahiri said, “It was great, especially nice to have a clean card. I’ve made a bunch of silly errors over the last two days and I’ve been playing better than my score would suggest, so I knew that I had to come out and kind of tighten up, focus a little bit more. Hit my irons a lot better today, put some work yesterday afternoon and I’m glad it paid off.”
Lahiri realised he was driving well but not hitting the irons as well he ought to and give himself chances for birdies. After a chat with his coach Lahiri put in some work with the irons after the second round. “I’ve been driving it great all week. I’ve driven it really, really well, so if you do that right, then the only thing left is to hit the greens and I haven’t quite done justice with a lot of my irons and my wedges. Just had a little grind session yesterday, chatted with my coach and just got back to basics and felt a lot more comfortable today. Once I hit a few good ones, it was easy to get into a good rhythm.”
It also saw Lahiri rise to the top in terms of putts per greens in regulation.
Lahiri, who was stuck in India when the PGA Tour re-started in June was able to make it only for Wyndham Championship, the last event before Play-offs.
In third place was Mackenzie Hughes (67) was 14-under while Xinjun Zhang (68) was13-under. Nate Lashley (65) and Sean O’Hair (70) were 12-under and Lahiri alongside Tyler McCumber (69), Luke List (71) and Justin Suh (71) were Tied-seventh at 11-under.
Lahiri’s best on the PGA Tour is 61 (-9) carded at the A Military Tribute at Greenbrier in July 2018. He had also shot 64s twice at the La Quinta in California in the tournament then called CareerBuilder Challenge but now called the American Express.
Lahiri had four birdies on either side of the course on the Caribbean coast and did not put a foot wrong. Lahiri, who began the week with a triple bogey on second followed by a bogey on third, was four-over through three holes.
Atwal had six birdies and three bogeys, one of which came on the 18th in the third round.
Lahiri added, “It’s the windiest it’s been all week. I think the players are going to be happier because it’s less hot. You don’t feel as sweaty and as humid as the last two days have been. But no, I think the conditions are not that easy. It is a lot stronger.”
He added, “I’m just happy that I have a chance, an outside chance one way or the other, and I played well so I can take a lot of pride in that.”
Long, also bogey free, took off with five birdies in a six-hole stretch around the turn, and he really poured it on when Swafford began to stall. Along with birdies on both par 5s, Nos. 12 and 14, Long hit a tricky shot from a flyer lie in the rough on the 13th and it came out perfectly to 8 feet pin-high for birdie. He had
Like Lahiri, another Asian star chasing his first PGA Tour win is 33-year-old Xinjun Zhang (68), who is now 13under and Tied-fourth. Zhang, who once worked as a security guard in a golf course near Xian, recently became the first mainland Chinese golfer to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. “I’m in a great spot for tomorrow, being in contention,” said Zhang, 33. Zhang has twice won on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019.
Yet another Asian star, young Kim Joohyung (68) has a total of 7-under and is Tied-24th.