India’s Anirban Lahiri battled to a 3-under 69 to move up into a share of eighth place after the second round of the Valero Texas Open on Friday, five shots behind leader Cameron Tringale.
After turning in 35 with a birdie on two, the former Asian No. 1 endured a rollercoaster back nine with three birdies, three bogeys and one eagle at TPC San Antonio for a two-day total of 4-under 140.
Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama came home in 74 to slip to T14 while Korea’s Sung Kang will enter the weekend on 142 after returning a 76, some 10 shots worse than his opening round’s effort.
Tringale made five consecutive birdies from Hole Nos. 13-17, tying the longest birdie streak of his PGA TOUR career as he chases a career-first victory in his 297th start. He leads by two from Jordan Spieth, a 14-time winner but not since 2017, who shares second place with England’s Matt Wallace.
Lahiri holed a 20-foot eagle on 14 on his back nine but left the course with a bitter taste in his mouth following a closing birdie on the par-5, 18th hole when his second shot ended in a watery creek. Still, his rise up the leaderboard will inject the confidence needed in his game following a lean spell where he has missed five cuts in seven starts in 2021.
“I’ve been working on my ball striking and it was nice to see it come together. I was happy that I made a lot of birdies, dropped a few but trying to keep a clean card over the weekend,” said Lahiri.
He opted to skip last week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship to work hard at his game despite finishing T6 in the same event last September which was his last top-10 on TOUR. The decision seems to be paying off as he has improved his Strokes Gained: Tee to Green statistic from 150th this season to 37th this week for the Valero Texas Open.
“I feel like I’m moving in the right direction and it’s progressing in a good way. I still need to stay on top of it and keep building on it,” he said.
Spieth, making his sixth start in his home state event, continued to show a resurgence in form as a second round 70, thanks to birdies on 14 and 15, kept him in the title hunt. He has finished top-10 in four of his last six tournaments.
“I’m really pleased with where things are at, but they’re not where I want them to be at,” he said. “I’m trying to kind of take it slowly and patiently and reward myself, be excited about the good ones and not get too down about the bad ones.”
Second-Round Notes – Friday, April 2, 2021
Weather: Mostly cloudy. High of 71. Wind ESE 8-16 mph.
78 professionals at 2-over 146 from a field of 141 professionals and three amateurs.
Cameron Tringale 66-69—135 (-9)
Matt Wallace 69-68—137 (-7)
Jordan Spieth 67-70—137 (-7)
Kevin Stadler 69-70—139 (-5)
Kyle Stanley 71-68—139 (-5)
Erik van Rooyen 71-68—139 (-5)
Brandt Snedeker 72-67—139 (-5)