Lahiri opens with 69, Korea’s Lee flies Asian flag as Cantlay leads California

La Quinta, California, Jan 21: Anirban Lahiri teeing off from the tenth was off to a flying start with an eagle and a birdie in the first four holes of the first round of the American Express on Thursday. However, the Indian, who is playing his first event of 2022 was unable to maintain that momentum and managed just one more birdie and also dropped a shot to finish the first day at 3-under 69 at La Quinta Country Club. He was placed T-52nd at the US$7.6 million PGA TOUR event in which the first three rounds are played over three courses in California this week.

FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, who finished 2021 with wins at the BMW and Tour Championships opened 2022 with fourth place at Sentry Tournament of Champion, got off to a great start at American Express with 10-under 62 and shared the lead with rookie Lee Hodges. The two leaders also played at La Quinta.

The Asian challenge was led by K.H. Lee, who was tied for third at 64 at the Stadium Course, alongside Cameron Young, who shot the same score at La Quinta.

The players who opened at La Quinta will play the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday and the adjacent Stadium Course on the weekend.

Lahiri, who has not had much success at the American Express the last couple of times he has played here, did finish T-25 and T-28 before that. He next plays at Nicklaus Tournament Course and then Stadium Course.

The cut will be applied after 54 holes.

The 30-year-old Lee hit 10 birdies en route to a sizzling 8-under 64 to share third place as he seeks a second PGA TOUR title.

Defending champion Si Woo Kim opened with a 68 at La Quinta following seven birdies, one bogey and one double bogey while countryman Seungyul Noh (Stadium Course) and Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan (Nicklaus Course) also returned 68s.

Cantlay played the first seven holes in 7-under, making an eagle on the par-5 sixth and five birdies. He also had birdies on 11, 12 and 13 and closed with five straight pars. Brandt Snedeker with seven others was at 65 in Tied-fifth place.

World No. 1 Jon Rahm and Graeme McDowell shot 66 each at La Quinta.

Harry Higgs had a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th at La Quinta in a 66.

Phil Mickelson, the host, was tied for last in the 156-player field after a 78 at La Quinta. His card included a quintuple-bogey ‘nine’ on the par-4 eighth after he twice hit his drives out of bounds on the right.

Read also:

Refreshed and reset Lahiri starts 2022 at Amex in California


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