Jordan Spieth and Anirban Lahiri. Pic: Getty Images/ PGA Tour
April 5: Anirban Lahiri finally put together a result that made him feel good and raised hopes of a solid season and also boosted his Olympic hopes as he rose up the ranks with a solo fifth place finish at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
Lahiri found rewards on the golf course after weeks and months of struggle as a third successive 69 to finish 10-under after a first round 71. It was his first Top-5 finish since the CJ Cup@Nine Bridges in October, 2017.
As Lahiri got a fifth place, Jordan Spieth got back into the winner’s circle after a span of 1,351 days – his last win was the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Interestingly, Lahiri’s last win came in 2015 at the Hero Indian Open and since then his best was T-2 at the 2017 Memorial.
Lahiri closed the week with a 18th hole birdie to move from a four-man group at T-5 to be sole fifth. That final birdie was worth around $ 40,000 for Lahiri, whose sole fifth earned him a cheque of $ 315,700.
Spieth ended his slump with a two-shot win over Charley Hoffman (66), while Matt Wallace (70) in solo third achieved his PGA Tour result, bettering is T-3 at the 2019 PGA Championship.
Lucas Glover (66) was fourth, one place ahead of Lahiri.
Saying he was looking at his game as ‘glass half full’ rather than ‘half-empty, he added, “I drove it really well. Whenever I’ve played well I’ve usually driven the ball really well and this week was similar. A little bit disappointed with my short game, my bunker play was very poor. But again those are areas that I need to go back and work on and, and build some confidence there. My putting could have been better. I gave myself lots of opportunities so it’s a good thing. I could have easily taken a few more, but again, you know, I look at it as a glass half full.”
When referring to the work he has been doing, Lahiri said, “It’s been a really good week solid week. Generally, I think my game was rock solid tee to green. I’ve put in a lot of hours a lot of work, these last month to 45 days after going through that tough stretch on the Florida swing. I was hitting the ball terrible.”
Lahiri birdied second and eighth, dropped a shot on 12th and then birdied 15th and 18th. Lahiri had birdies on three of the four par-5s, but was disappointed at missing the one on Par-5 14th.
He said, “It was nice to finish with a birdie. And I felt like I had a lot of chances on the back nine, missed some putts on 10, 11, 17 and did not birdie the par-5 14th. It’s been tough the last few weeks, just grinding and grinding. So, it feels very nice to be rewarded by a nice week.”
Lahiri earned 110 FedExCup points to move from 125th to 94th on the latest standings and will look forward to qualifying for the lucrative Playoffs in August. Also he rises to 319 on World Rankings, up from his previous 478th. He is now the second highest ranked Indian and a couple of more good results could see him make the grade for a second Olympic appearance.
Speaking on the work he has put in he added, “There has been lots of back and forth with my coach Vijay (Divecha) and lots of videos and lots of instructions. He will be here next week and we will work more. (Even before this week) I’ve been working hard and diligently. I’ve just tried to focus on getting better and not really read too much into the results. Like I said, the results were not very good.”
Spieth, runner-up at the Masters on his debut in 2014, has since won in 2015, finished runner-up again in 2016, finished T-11 in 2017 and third in 2018. His last two years saw him T-21 in 2019 and T-46 in 2020. This latest win will once again make a hot favourite for the event at Augusta.