India’s Anirban Lahiri fought back after a mediocre start to finish with a creditable 3-under 69 in the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, U.S. He was placed tied-32nd.
Playing his first event of the new 2021-22 season, Lahiri started from the 10th and had two bogeys in his first nine and turned in 2-over.
A fine comeback with five birdies on the second nine, which was the front side of the Country Club of Jackson, saw Lahiri make a disappointing beginning to a solid first round.
Leading the field was Indian-American Sahith Theegala, who had eight birdies and no bogeys to take his first opening-round lead on the PGA Tour.
The rookie American, whose parents Karuna and Murali migrated from India, earned his card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
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A changed driver at the Korn Ferry finals and some renewed confidence put Theegala in the front seat after the first round.
Lahiri hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation during his first round. He missed quite a few fairways on his front nine and turned in 2-over.
The second nine saw a lot of improvement from the moment he hit his second shot to seven feet on the 11th for a birdie.
A 29-footer birdie on the 12th added to the momentum. Two great pitches from just over 100 yards to three feet and one-and-a-half feet saw him birdie 14th and 15th. He added one more on 17th from nine feet and the score could have been better but for a five-foot miss for birdie on 18th.
Theegala leads at 8-under, while Nick Watney and Harold Varner III are tied for second at 7-under; and Si Woo Kim, Roger Sloan, and Kurt Kitayama are tied for fourth at 6-under.
South Korean Si Woo Kim was the best Asian in tied fourth position following a superb round consisting of seven birdies against a lone bogey for 6-under 66.
Fellow South Korean Sungjae Im, who was second here two years ago, shot an opening 5-under 67, which featured a couple of monster putts to be the best Asian at T-7.
The 23-year-old Im was hot with his putter as he picked six birdies, including holing putts of 32 feet and 27 feet on the 13th and 18th holes, respectively.
Chinese Taipei’s C. T. Pan opened with a 68 while another South Korean, Sung Kang, also opened with a 68 to share 17th place. As Lahiri carded a 69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand shot a 71.
Shubhankar Sharma tied-55th at Alfred Dunhill Links C’ship
Shubhankar Sharma rallied after a rough start to finish the day at tied-55th place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship here.
Coming off a fine Top-10 finish at BMW PGA two weeks ago, he was 2-under 70.
Shubhankar has had three top-10s and a few top-20 and top-30 results this season as he looked for a Top-60 finish on the Race to Dubai rankings.
Starting on the 10th, Sharma opened with a birdie but gave away a triple bogey on 11th and had another bogey on 16th, at which point he was 3-over for the tournament.
His recovery started from the 18th where he got a birdie and added four more on his second nine, the front side of the Old Course at St. Andrews. He birdied the second, third, fifth and seventh and finished with a presentable 2-under 70.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, also starting on 10th, began with two bogeys and ended the day with a bogey on ninth. In between he had four bridies for a card of 1-under 71 at Kingsbarns and was tied 79th.