New putter gives Lahiri a solid start at Fort Worth Invitational
Fort Worth (US), May 25 (PTI) With a new putter in his bag, Anirban Lahiri reeled off three birdies in a row and finished the day at a solid three-under 67 in the first round of the Fort Worth Invitational at the Colonial Country Club.
Lahiri, who had put the new putter in his bag a day earlier, carded five birdies against two bogeys and was T-19th after the opening day.
The Indian had finished with an eagle and a couple of birdies in last three holes at last week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championships and continued his good run on the opening day here.
Lahiri, who finished T-6 in his debut appearance at the Colonial in 2016, missed the cut last year.
The 30-year-old Indian was error free on the front nine as he followed up birdies on first three holes with a fourth on ninth by holing a huge putt from 32 feet.
He dropped a bogey on 12th and another on 14th, when he missed from inside six feet. But he finished the day with 25-footer for birdie on 18th and was three-under 67.
Meanwhile, young Shubhankar Sharma -- playing on an invite -- suffered a disastrous triple on 15th, his sixth hole of the day. He had another bogey on 17th, but settled thereafter. He birdied the 10th and parred the entire back nine for a round of 73.
Kevin Na chipped in from 90 feet after two wayward shots on his closing hole, the ninth, to grab sole lead at eight-under 62, one clear of Charley Hoffman (63), who was also bogey free like Na.
A satisfied Lahiri said, Today was one of the best days I have had on the greens. I put a new putter in the bag yesterday and it paid off.
I got off to a great start. I hit it really close. I had a two-putt birdie to start with (on Par-5 first) and then hit it to four feet and one foot on two and three.
"Early in the day, the conditions were good, nice and soft. I had a lapse in concentration in the middle and missed a few greens. But I had good putt on ninth (32 feet).
On his two bogeys, Lahiri said, Both bogeys came from the middle of the fairway. I missed a lot of greens on back nine. I hit good tee shots but put myself out of positions and gave away a few here. I need to work on that.
But his biggest takeaway for the day was putting. I was happy with the way I putted. It has been my biggest concern this season.
Lahiri also fed off the good memories of this course, where he opened with a 65 in 2016 when he ended T-6 that year.
I love this course. It reminds me of the Delhi Golf Club, where I have had a lot of success earlier in my career. I love the layout and the challenge, he said.
As for the heat, I enjoy playing in the heat as I have played a lot of my golf in hot conditions. The hotter it gets, the better it is for me and I just need to stay hydrated and fuel up myself.
Na had six pars to start with before he exploded with eight-under over last 12. He had three birdies in a row from 16th to 18th and followed that up with a tap-in eagle on first and a birdie on second. At that stage he was six-under for five holes and added two more on sixth and ninth.
Steve Stricker, winner at Colonial in 2009, who considered withdrawing after feeling a back ache on fourth but stayed on and signed for a 5-under 65, three behind Na and two behind Hoffman.
A new putter helped Hoffman have his low round of the season by three shots. He gained more than two strokes on the greens Thursday. He dispatched the putter that he's used for the past five years for a heavier one.
Rickie Fowler shot 67 in the first round, which included four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 15th to first.
Jordan Spieth opened with a 1-under 69, even as his putting struggles continued. He three-putted from nine feet on the sixth hole, his 15th of the day. Jon Rahm, second last year in his Colonial debut, shot 68