Lee Westwood and Anirban Lahiri. Pic: Getty Images and File pic.
March 13: It was yet another shortened trip to the Players for Anirban Lahiri, who has now failed to get beyond the second round in four of his five starts at the flagship event of the PGA Tour. Playing the US$15 million Players Championship for the fifth time, Lahiri, who had a 78 on first day, had an eventful second round with five birdies against five bogeys for a 72 that left him way short of the cut mark at Ponte Vedra, Florida.
Lahiri, who had a disappointing 78 on first day has not quite been able to make a mark at the TPC Sawgrass, which this year has felled many a big name including defending champion and former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy (79-75) and became the first defending champion since Rickie Fowler in 2016 to miss the cut.
Lahiri who had six bogeys and a double against two birdies, had five each of birdies and bogeys in the second round. The only time Lahiri made it past the second round was in 2019, but he then missed the 54-hole cut, which was necessitated as more than 78 players had made the second round cut.
Some of the big stars in Top-10 of the world who missed the cut were Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson.
Amidst all the chaos England’s Lee Westwood, 47, shot a bogey free 6-under 66 to get to 9-under and a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Talking of in-form players, five players who finished in the top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational are in the top 10 after round two: Westwood, Fitzpatrick, Chris Kirk, Bryson DeChambeau, Charley Hoffman
Sungjae Im held aloft the Asian flag as he is hoping to become the second Korean after KJ Choi to win the Players, charged into contention with 6-under 66. The round included six consecutive birdies from 15th to second as he started the day on the tenth. Im, tied-5th, is three behind Westwood.
“I felt pretty good with the shots on the driving range, so I think that helped me to feel comfortable and I was able to make the birdies in a row,” said Im, who arrived this week after one top five and three top 25 finishes this year.
Speaking of Choi, Im said, “I didn’t get to watch K.J. win live but I did watch it on the reruns. When K.J. won, I was pretty young, so I did not think too much about it. It was just only my dream to end up on the PGA TOUR, and now I’m here. It’s amazing.”
Another Korean, K.H. Lee shot 71 and was T37 position but the other Asians exited early. Hideki Matsuyama, (76-69) for a 145 total was one shot outside the projected halfway cut mark, while Anirban Lahiri (78-72), Xinjun Zhang (76-76), Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan (78- 74), Korea’s Sung Kang (76-81) and Byeong Hun An (83-79) will miss the weekend play.
Overnight leader, Sergio Garcia added 72 to first round 65 and was Tied-third with Chris Kirk (72-65).
When the second round was suspended due to darkness eight players were left on the course.