Kuala Lumpur, October 12: India’s Anirban Lahiri opened with a five-under-par 67 to stay in the mix at the CIMB Classic on Thursday.
Lahiri is bunched in tied eighth place together with Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, American Brendan Steele, Davis Love III, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Korea’s Sung Kang at the US$7 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.
They are three shots behind Australian leader, Cameron Smith at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Phachara surprised even himself as he did not have a practice round and could only walk the course yesterday, having arrived home from Scotland on Wednesday.
The young Thai is playing for the first time at the CIMB Classic and it is only the second time in his professional career that he is teeing up in an event which has no cut.
Did you know?
- Lahiri is a seven-time Asian Tour winner, who also holds a full PGA TOUR card. He finished 51st in the FedExCup in his second season on the PGA TOUR which was also his best finish to date.
- Lahiri held a four-shot lead heading into the final round of the 2016 CIMB Classic, a tournament record, before eventually finishing tied-third.
- The Indian will be making his sixth appearance at the CIMB Classic.
- Lahiri made his second start in last month’s Presidents Cup as a Captain’s pick for the International Team.
- Phachara is the youngest player at the age of 18 in the elite field this week. He was also the youngest player to play in The Open last year.
- He arrived from Scotland on Wednesday afternoon and did not play a practice round at TPC Kuala Lumpur. He only walked the course.
- Phachara opened with a bogey (10th hole) but fought back with four straight birdies starting from the 16th hole. He added two more birdies to enjoy a solid first day.
- The Thai has two runner-up finishes this year in Singapore and Australia. He is currently ranked seventh on the Order of Merit but is still searching for a first Asian Tour victory.
“I came without any expectations.” – Phachara Khongwatmai
Anirban Lahiri (Ind) First round 67 (-5)
It is a good score and good start. A little disappointed, though as I didn’t have a very good back nine. Obviously got off to a red hot start and then couldn’t capitalize on the relatively scoring part of the golf course. Guilty of missing a lot of putts from around eight to 12 feet, didn’t really make anything in the last nine holes, had at least six of them. So disappointed, honestly. Feel like I should have closed two or three shots better, but it’s a good score to start and I’ll have to go on from here. I think that’s the toughest part of the golf course, 11, 12, 13, and if you can play those holes even par or under par you’re doing well. So obviously, like I said, I got off to a really good start and then I just didn’t capitalize on the shorter holes. The par 5s on the front, I only made one birdie. I didn’t birdie 16 or 17 from the fairway. You want to hit fairways and then you set up birdies, but I just didn’t make those putts. So kind of disappointed, like I said, to not have posted a better score, but you can see the scoring is going to be low so you just have to keep going. I don’t think it’s possible to be any more aggressive. You’ve got to play smart. As long as you’re on the fairway, we’ve got ball in hand all week so that helps as well because you can pretty much be assured of a clean ball and you can fire at the greens. Yeah, I think it’s going to be the same over the next three days and just try and make a bunch of putts. I kind of know what I need to do to handle it. I have my own ways, I know how much I need to hydrate and how much fuel I need to put in, so I think that experience is good for me. But when you play here more and more often, you’ll find all of us are professionals and we will adapt, so over a period of time we all get used to it. Having said that, I’m quite comfortable in these conditions so it doesn’t make a difference.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) First round 67 (-5)
Today I didn’t think I could get five-under because it’s my first start at the CIMB Classic. On my first hole which was the par-five 10, I couldn’t hit my second shot into the green, and I made a bogey there. I was able to control the ball better after that and began to putt better. I’m not thinking too far ahead now. I just want to play like what I did today. I came without any expectations and I just want to play my best. There is less pressure too as there’s no cut for this event.
About CIMB Group
The title sponsor of the CIMB Classic is CIMB Group. CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 9 out of 10 ASEAN nations. CIMB Group offers a full suite of financial services and related products; has a market capitalisation of approximately USD 14 billion as of 30 June 2017 and about 38,000 employees located in 15 countries. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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