Lahiri enjoys opening win and NBA star support

Thu 30 Apr 2015

Lahiri enjoys opening win and NBA star support

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April 30: India’s Anirban Lahiri enjoyed a strong debut at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, defeating American Ryan Palmer 4 & 2 in his opening group match on Wednesday and had NBA star Andre Igoudala cheering for him from inside the ropes.
The current Asian Tour number one made six birdies throughout the round at Harding Park and never trailed in the match, which he closed out on the 16th hole when Palmer conceded defeat.
Anirban Lahiri and Andre Igoudala Anirban Lahiri and Andre Igoudala
However, Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee suffered a 3 & 1 loss to Germany’s Martin Kaymer in the event which is featuring 64 players who will compete in three round robin matches before the field is cut to 16 players.
Lahiri, who has won twice this season, said: “I played really solid and didn’t make mistakes. I kept it tight and made a few putts and that helps. I was pretty happy.”
An opening birdie saw Lahiri quickly take control of his match against Palmer, who is ranked 23rd in the world. Lahiri made further birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth holes but with Palmer also making some birdies, the Indian made the turn 1 up.
A mistake by Palmer saw Lahiri go 2-up on 10 and a birdie on 13 saw him go 3-up. With Palmer in with a chance to birdie 14, Lahiri produced a chip-in birdie of his own to preserve his advantage.
“The only hole that I won with a par was on 10. I think Ryan had a chance on 14 and I chipped in from the rough to keep it three up and that was very important. I’m looking forward to playing with Justin Rose tomorrow. I’m playing a lot better and I guess match play helps me focus better. I’ll try to do the same tomorrow,” he said.
Lahiri, ranked 35th in the world, has spent a lot of time in the US in recent weeks, making the halfway cut at the Masters Tournament earlier this month. His fan base has also grown and now includes guard-forward for the Golden State Warriors, Igoudala.
The 10-year NBA star picked up golf just two years ago and this past Sunday had the opportunity to play with Lahiri in San Francisco. “Anirban birdied the first six holes,” Igoudala recalled.
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