Golfer Lahiri fires 65, jumps to second spot at Hotel Fitness

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Fort Wayne (Indiana), Sep 12 (IANS) Once again proving his mettle, leading Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri conjured a seven-under 65 to finish one stroke short of leader Jamie Lovemark after the second round of the $1 million Hotel Fitness Championship at the Sycamore Hills Golf Club here.

World No.40 Lahiri, who was tied 16th after posting a 69 in the opening round, on Friday took his 36-hole total to 10-under 134 to finish second to American Lovemark, who added a 66 to his first round score of 67.

Lahiri, in his first tournament of the Tour Finals — qualifying series for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour, needed to live up to his billing as the top ranked golfer.

And the 28-year-old’s determination showed, as he made par scores on the first two holes before getting a birdie on the third. He added two more birdies on the front nine — on fifth and seventh — against a bogey on the ninth.

The Bengalurean, who won Malaysia and India Open in February, put up a splendid show on the back nine. In a flawless performance, he scored a birdie on the 10th and followed it up with four consecutive birdies from the 12th.

The 18-time professional winner ended his round with three consecutive par efforts to earn a 65.

Lahiri will play two more tournaments of the Finals to secure his place inside the top 25 on the Finals money list and earn a PGA Tour card for 2015-16. And with Friday’s effort, he showed that he meant business.

“You know the effort is going to be there. I’m in a decent position. We’re only halfway there, and I have to make a lot of birdies over the weekend, because the course is gettable,” Lahiri said.

“I don’t know how the weather is going to be, but I think it was good to get a low one in on a day like today, because it wasn’t particularly easy.”

Lahiri turned in a remarkable putting day by anyone’s standards, making “a few 10-footers, a couple of 25-footers” and not needing more than one putt until his par-five 11th.

“Yesterday, I kind of struggled with the pace on the greens. I kind of hit it firmer than I should have,” said Lahiri, who finished tied fifth at the PGA Championship last month.

“Today, I slowed down my tempo a little bit to adjust. Also, the rain probably slowed it down just a little bit. I had the pace spot-on today, and that helped.”

After meeting with the media post-round, Lahiri headed to the range to work on his alignment. He only hit seven of 14 fairways in each of the first two rounds, but he was confident that the fix was “a minor thing”.

“I didn’t play golf for almost a week after I went back (to India) after the PGA, and I haven’t really hit that many golf balls, because I was trying to recover some energy,” Lahiri said.

“I’m just trying to pace myself out. But obviously the work needs to be done, and I’m going to go to the range and probably fix that.”

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