Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri grinded it out to card a 2-under 70 in windy conditions on a day when his driver was very errant in the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship. Lahiri stayed at Tied-7th but slipped to five shots behind the leader. Lahiri was 8-under 136 through 36 holes as Keegan Bradley (65) shot a brilliant 65 to get to 13-under and led the field by two. Lahiri’s accuracy took a major hit in swirling conditions as he found only three fairways and two-thirds of the greens, way below 50 per cent fairways and 83 per cent of the greens in regulation on the first day.
His putting, too, left him disappointed. Also, a double bogey on the sixth, his 15th hole of the second day, ended a fine 32-hole bogey-free streak. Another disappointing bit was that Lahiri was unable to birdie any of the four Par-5s as against two on the first day. He now has 10 birdies against one double bogey in 36 holes. Lahiri also came agonisingly close to a hole-in-one on Par-3 13th, his fourth hole of the day when his tee shot landed five inches from the cup. While that was a great feeling, Lahiri rued missing as many as three birdie putts from inside 10 feet besides a less than six footer for a bogey on sixth.
"I had some trouble with the driver and did not find many fairways. I hit very few fairways (just three). The wind was swirling most of the time and I was left guessing," said Lahiri, who also missed a fair number of putts from distances he had made look easy on the first day. "But I did have a decent start with three birdies in the first six holes after starting from the tenth." He, however, did have a 25-foot conversion for birdie on Par-4 12th, his third hole of the day, which was followed by the near ace.
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"I lost concentration around the turn. I missed the fairway and went into a greenside bunker." From there he went to the fringe and had less than six feet for a bogey but missed it for a double. He had three birdies on the front nine on 12, 13 and 15 and closed the day with one more on ninth. Lahiri, who has had his putting coach on site this week, went for a practice session to hit some balls on the driving range and putting green. I managed to get a good session later on and am ready for the weekend," said Lahiri.
Lahiri, who got into the field this week after a top-10 finish last week at Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic, needs a similar Top-10 for a place in next week's Shriners Hospitals for Children open in Vegas. "My eligibility is such this year. But I am looking forward to a good weekend and rest will take care of itself." Lahiri, who has not won since 2015 in his home event, the Hero Indian Open on Asian and European Tours, was T-36 at Safeway Open and then T-6 at Corales, which was his first Top-10 in almost two years.
Bradley rode a hot putter even as his iron play, too, helped him get close to the pins on way to a 7-under 65. Playing at the Country Club of Jackson for the first time, Bradley made three straight birdies on the back nine to take the lead and closed with another short birdie putt to take a two-shot lead over J.T. Poston ( 67) and Charley Hoffman (69). Monday qualifier M.J. Daffue of South Africa, who made an event for the third time since July and through qualifiers, added 69 to his first round 65 and was fourth at 10-under.