India’s Anirban Lahiri credited a career low round of 5-under 67 at THE PLAYERS Championship to 3.5 grams of weight added to his irons ahead of the PGA TOUR’s flagship tournament.
Lahiri produced a stunning eagle two, four birdies and one bogey at TPC Sawgrass to finish one stroke back of clubhouse leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge on a weather-hit Thursday which endured a four hour, 15 minute suspension due to thunderstorms.
What was especially pleasing was the fact the Indian concluded his round in near darkness to ensure a sleep-in on Friday morning. Sixty nine of 72 players in the morning session completed the first round and 60 of 72 players in the afternoon wave began the first round Thursday (none completed). The first round will resume 7.15am Friday.
“It feels really good,” smiled Lahiri.
“It was nice to actually make some of the momentum putts. Obviously a big bonus when you see a ball disappear from the middle of the fairway. That was really nice on six. I think today’s round was very close to how I’ve been playing the last few weeks. The only difference was I managed to keep it clean, and a couple of times that I got out of position, I managed to save par. It’s very satisfying. Been working hard on trying to clean up my game, so it was nice to see it come together. ”
The demanding Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has proven to be a bogey venue for Lahiri. In five appearance at THE PLAYERS, he has missed four cuts and finished tied 74th in 2019. He has also been disappointed with his form all season as in 12 starts, he has missed seven cuts and has a tied 40th for his best finish.
The pieces fell into place in his first round and he credited the added weight to his irons as being a key difference. “I think the biggest difference was we made a change to the irons this week. I changed the weight, and the irons have been my weak link, and they came out much better. I feel like my confidence is getting better, which is really positive,” said Lahiri, who is seeking for a first win on the PGA TOUR in what is his seventh season in the U.S.
“It’s really something that’s minor. I’ve added maybe 3 1/2 grams of weight to all of my irons. It sounds like inconsequential, but it almost makes a 10, 12-yard difference in our line. These last couple of weeks especially we’ve been playing really tough golf courses, and you hit it four or five yards offline and you can make six instead of three. And I had a lot of that happen to me.
So it’s frustrating when you know you’re not making bad swings and you’re not getting the results you want, so it’s equally satisfying when it comes together like this.”
Following an arduous 12-hour day at the course in the US$20 million PGA TOUR showpiece, he is happy that he will be able to enjoy a sleep-in on Friday after safely making par on his last hole, the ninth, in near darkness.
“It’s pretty much pitch dark. It was nice to get it in because that weather is not looking nice for tomorrow. It’s probably going to be worse than today. The last thing I want to do is wake up at 5:00 and come out and wait to hit two shots or three shots and don’t know when you’re going to do that either because overnight we’re going to get rain, too. So glad to have finished my round,” he said.
Partial First-Round Notes – Thursday, March 10, 2022
Tommy Fleetwood 66 (-6)
Tom Hoge 66 (-6)
Kramer Hickok 67 (-5)
Joaquin Niemann 67 (-5)
Keith Mitchell 67 (-5)
Anirban Lahiri 67 (-5)