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India’s Lahiri fights back
India’s Anirban Lahiri sank a superb 28-foot birdie putt on his last hole on Friday to move to tied 10th position at the Barbasol Championship, four strokes behind leader J.T. Poston.
The lengthy conversion on the ninth to cap a 5-under 67 second round card made up for Thursday’s disappointment where he dropped a late double bogey which knocked him down the leaderboard at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville.
“Good change from yesterday,” he smiled.
Lahiri was solid all-round as he hit 10 fairways and 15 greens in regulation, three more each than the first day en route to six birdies and a lone bogey.
“I've been playing really solid. I think yesterday and today, both days, played really good. It was a bit unfortunate to have a rough end yesterday, a bad hole to finish but I feel like all my departments are where they need to be. Could have chipped maybe a little bit better but in general I've been feeling good about my game. I've been driving it good and now I'm beginning to finally start hitting my irons the way I would like to,” said Lahiri, who has a two-day total of 9-under 135.
Lahiri’s return to form could prove timely as he is fighting to finish inside the top-125 of the FedExCup standings to qualify for the lucrative Playoffs next month, and more importantly retain his card for next season’s PGA TOUR where he has plied his trade since 2016. He currently lies 127th and will take next week off to head to the Tokyo Olympic Games to represent India.
He converted birdies on three of the four par-5s and missed a makeable opportunity on the par-5 8th hole before delivering his strong finish. “I put myself in a really good position on eight and hit a poor chip and then couldn't make the 15-footer that I left myself. I wanted to try and get to double digits obviously. This is one of those weeks where you just have to keep making birdies, so every time you can make a putt outside 15, 20 feet, it's like a bonus. So yeah, I'm happy to end on that note (on nine),” he said.
Lahiri has two top-10s this season, with his last being at the Valero Texas Open in April but his season was disrupted soon after he came down with COVID-19 which took the winds off his sail. He then needed quite some time to regain his strength and speed.
“It’s been a challenging year. I've had a lot of things happen just with my status, limited starts, played well in the fall, didn't play well early in the season, and just when I worked up into form, I had a bad bout of COVID. So I'm really grateful right now,” said Lahiri, who lost 7kg when he was down with the coronavirus.
“This is my fourth week in a row. This is the first time I'm doing that since my recovery from COVID two and a half months ago. So I'm really happy with how my body's holding up, I'm happy with how I'm swinging, I'm feeling good, so I know as long as I can check those boxes, I can do what I need to do. I know what needs to be done to get it done. I'm just keeping my head down and playing my golf.”
China’s Bobby Bai, who Monday qualified for his first PGA TOUR start on U.S. soil, followed up on his opening 66 with a 71 to finish the second round in a share of 31st position. Satoshi Kodaira (T31) and K.J. Choi (T47) also made it through the weekend rounds. Poston carded a second round 66 to lead on 13-under 131.
Second-Round Notes – Friday, July 16, 2021
Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 81. Wind SW 8-14 mph. Play was suspended due to darkness at 8:47 p.m. on Thursday with 30 players yet to complete their round. The first round resumed at 8:09 a.m. Friday and was completed at 9:33 a.m. The second round began as scheduled at 7:45 a.m.
Cut: 76 professionals at 4-under 140 from a field of 131 professionals and one amateur
J.T. Poston 65-66—131 (-13)
Ryan Armour 65-67—132 (-12)
Joseph Bramlett 65-67—132 (-12)
Luke List 65-68—133 (-11)
Seamus Power 65-68—133 (-11)
Brian Stuard 64-69—133 (-11)
Taylor Pendrith 65-68—133 (-11)
Leading Asian Scores
Anirban Lahiri 68-67 – 135 (-9, T10)