Superb start for Lahiri at #TheMasters

Fri 10 Apr 2015

Superb start for Lahiri at #TheMasters

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From V. Krishnaswamy in Augusta National
Augusta, Georgia, April 9: India’s Anirban Lahiri wore a big smile walking off the 18th green at Augusta National.
The reason was simple – he’d just shot a one-under-par 71, thanks to two birdies against a lone bogey, in the maiden appearance at the Masters Tournament for tied 18th place after the opening round of the year’s first Major.
It was the kind of start that the current Asian Tour number one had wanted on the big stage, tying the likes of reigning champion Bubba Watson and world number one Rory McIlroy. Jordan Spieth grabbed the lead following a brilliant 64.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand
The other big challenger from Asia, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand suffered two bogeys and one double bogey in a four-hole stretch from the 10th hole to 14th hole and it also had a consolation birdie on the 12th hole as he carded 75 to be tied 69th.
Interestingly, Lahiri’s opening round effort was the joint best by an Indian at the Masters Tournament, equaling Jeev Milkha Singh’s effort in 2008. It was also the second best card from Masters debutants on Thursday.
Noh Seung-yul, the Asian Tour number in 2010, emerged as the best rookie with a solid 70 for tied 12th place.
“I will take it,” said Lahiri, who won twice on the Asian Tour in February.
“I thought it was quite all right although it could have been a bit better. But I will take it and work on the second round. A good start always puts one in a great mood.”
Looking relaxed throughout the round in the company of European stars Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez who shot a 73 and 78 respectively, Lahiri stuck to his game plan well and missed several birdie opportunities on a glorious day.
“I was very comfortable and I slept really well and that’s probably because I had all my game plan and strategies in place. I was relaxed and I needed only to execute it,” said the world number 34.
“All my friends were supportive and they all wanted me relaxed. There is so much positivity all around. This morning it was a very nice feeling. When they announced my name, ‘Anirban Lahiri from India’, it was nice. There was some nervousness and it is a healthy feeling. It was there at my first British Open at Royal Lytham and this is my first Masters. If you don’t feel nervous, it means it does not mean so much to you. It is a special feeling. I enjoyed the moment and once that that passed it was fine.”
He made a few good saves early in the round to stay even par and keep the momentum going.
“I started out well with a couple of saves. On the first I misjudged my second shot and on the second, it was a par-five and I saved par after going to the right. It was important because if you bogey a par-five so early, it can affect your momentum,” said Lahiri.
“I did miss a few putts from around eight to 12 feet and on the ninth, I three-putted from about 15 feet for bogey. That was a little bit of inexperience on my part. When you are trying to make a putt, you have to lag it and not be aggressive. On 11, I rushed my putt. My caddie said, even if you try to be aggressive, every putt here is a lag putt and it has to die in.”
Thongchai, who finished tied 37th at the Masters last year, was not disheartened despite his slow start.
“The first goal is to make the cut and then make a challenge over the weekend,” said the three-time Asian Tour number one.