Indian golfer Lahiri tied 16th at Hotel Fitness

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Fort Wayne (Indiana), Sep 11 (IANS) Leading Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri posted a three-under 69 to take tied 16th position after the opening round of the $1 million Hotel Fitness Championship at the par-72 Sycamore Hills Golf Club here.

In his first tournament of the Tour Finals — qualifying series for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour — Asian Tour leader Lahiri on Thursday got off to a poor start as he got a bogey on the par-four first hole.

However, the 28-year-old bounced back birding the next two holes. Afrer a par score in the fourth, he again got a birdie on the fifth. The Bengaluru golfer dropped shot on the par-three seventh and again pulled things back with a birdie on the eight.

On the back nine, the world No.40 birdied the 228-yard par-three 11th hole and finished with seven consecutive pars for a 69.

“I think I hit it decent but I wasn’t very good off the tee,” he told after missing half of the fairways from the tee.

“Any other day I would have said driver would be my best club but it would be the 14th club in the bag today. I was all over the place.”

Lahiri hit some good iron shots but couldn’t get the putts to fall.

“It was slightly frustrating on the back nine,” he said. “I didn’t make anything long or crazy. I did make a 25-footer on number 11 and that was nice, but that was the end of the movie.”

South Carolina native Tommy Gainey and Argentine Emiliano Grillo shared the first-round lead after each shot a six-under 66.

Seven players are tied for third at five-under par: D.H. Lee, Ricky Barnes, Brice Garnett, Adam Long, Ryan Armour, Brett Stegmaier, and Jamie Lovemark.

Fresh off a solo third at the WinCo Foods Portland Open — his best finish of the season on the Tour — Gainey picked up where he left off two weeks ago with birdies on 12th and 13th to begin his round, followed by an eagle at the par-five 15th.

The two-time Tour winner was able to jar one last birdie on his final hole of the day thanks to a favourable bounce.

In total, Gainey hit six birdies, alongwith an eagle against two bogeys, while Grillo’s flawless round includes birdies on the first, second, fifth, sixth, 11th and 16th.

“I made a lot of putts today,” Gainey said. “I’ve been hitting it good for a while now but was able to make some putts on the last day in Portland and carried it over to today.”

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