Lahiri holds clubhouse lead #VenetianMacaoOpen

Fri 16 Oct 2015

Lahiri holds clubhouse lead #VenetianMacaoOpen

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Macao, October 16: Title holder Anirban Lahiri took his customary spot atop the leaderboard at the Venetian Macao Open following a four-under-par 67 on Friday’s morning session.
The Indian star accumulated an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys at the Macau Golf and Country Club to lead by two shots from countryman Rahil Gangjee, who shot a 68, and overnight leader Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who carded a 71.
Lahiri, who featured in his first Presidents Cup in Korea last week albeit the disappointment of not contributing a point to the Internationals, was disappointed to bogey his last hole on the ninth after finding thick rough with his drive.
“It was a good day to be out there. I think I played well, pretty similar to yesterday. But the couple of times I missed the fairway, I found some difficult lies in the rough which has been different to the yesteryears,” said the 28-year-old.
Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand
The highlight of his round was an eagler on the par five 18 when he nailed a four iron approach from 241 yards to seven feet of the pin. He birdied one and two soon after but ended his day with a bogey.
The current Order of Merit leader will be hoping his putter will start finding its mark come the weekend as he chases a third victory of the season on the Asian Tour.
“Every time I hit it close, I didn’t make a putt. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth to leave the course with a bogey. I it a good drive and it just got stuck in a terrible lie and it was a bad five,” he said.
“I didn’t come here with any negativity (from last week). Maybe, just redeem myself by playing a bit better this week. That’s about it.”
Last year, Lahiri outdueled 2013 champion Scott Hend on the final day and reckons the big-hitting Aussie, who is in the afternoon session, will pose a threat to his title defence.
“I would have preferred to be on 15-under. But I’m happy to be where I am now,” said Lahiri. “There are guys still going out and I’ll be surprised if nine under is still leading. There are quite a few birdies out there.”
Young Thai Thitiphun endured a roller-coaster day which included a triple bogey to fall two off the early pace. He lost his ball with a poor drive on five but rallied to stay even par for the day.
“I made a lot of mistakes. After finishing that hole (on five), I told myself to restart again and not think about the triple bogey. It would have been better if I could be one or two under but I’m okay with even par,” said Thitiphun, who is searching for a first Asian Tour win.
He expects the pressure to be on with Lahiri setting the pace. “Just keep to my pre-shot routine and be mentally steady. Don’t think about the score, just hit it one shot at a time,” he said.
“I’ll be happy to have the chance to play with Anirban. He’s one of the best golfers in Asia now. He’s a very strong player and it would be good to have the opportunity to play with him.
Gangjee dropped two double bogeys but redeemed himself with seven birdies to stay within striking reach of his countryman.
Ranhil Gangjee of India Ranhil Gangjee of India
It was like one step forward and two steps back. I hit two destructive shots and that was it. It cost me a lot.
"Besides that, I putted pretty good. Hope it carries on till the weekend. I feel like I’m playing good. As soon as I came here, this was more my golf course. I felt more comfortable. If I carry on what I’m doing, I’ll be okay. Feeling pretty relaxed,” said Gangjee.
He knows Lahiri will be the one to catch. “No surprise to see Anirban up there now,” he said.
“I was surprised though to see him lose a shot at the last hole. I know he’s playing well. He’s going to give us a good fight. We’ve just got to keep going at him.”