Lahiri finishes strong for even par 71 in first round at RBC Heritage; Smith leads

Lahiri. File pic

April 16: Anirban Lahiri, steady over his first nine, went through a series of ups-and-down on the second nine, which was the front side of the Harbour Town Links in the first round of RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, South. Carolina.

Staring at 2-over after 15, Lahiri pulled two great shots on his 16th and 18th, which were the seventh and ninth of the course, for birdies to finish even par.

Lahiri, who has his coach, Vijay Divecha by his side, this week, had some close misses amidst some superb hitting. He started on the 10th and had a bogey on 11th, which he made up for with a birdie on the difficult Par-3 17th sinking a 12-footer.

On his second nine, he birdied Par-5 second to go into red numbers, but ran into trouble on Par-4 third. Off the tee he went off and incurred a penalty and reached the green in four and missed a 14-footer for bogey and took a double. There was another bogey on fourth, when he missed a short four-footer for par. Two great shots on Par-5 fifth gave him an eagle putt from 27 feet, from which made a birdie.

A missed four-footer on Par-4 sixth meant a bogey. On the very next a superb tee shot on Par-3 seventh got him inside three and a half feet for birdie and on ninth, his closing hole he put his second shot around two feet and birdied the hole for even par 71.

Cameron Smith shot a career-low 9-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink (63). When Cink came off it was still lunch time and Smith overtook him late in the evening after some great play over the closing and challenging stretch.

The Australian chipped in for birdie on the par-3 17th and his approach on 18th was inside five feet for another birdie and took lead.

Cink, 47, winner here in 2000 and 2004, shot his lowest score in 75 career rounds at Harbour Town.

Collin Morikawa, who will defend his PGA Championship title up the South Carolina coast next month, shot 65 along with Matt Wallace. Charles Howell III, Billy Horschel and Harold Varner III shot 66.


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