Anirban Lahiri’s two Players Championship appearances have been largely forgettable but the Indian feels he has prepared well enough to make it third time lucky at TPC Sawgrass when this year’s tournament tees off on Thursday. The 30-year-old missed the halfway cut in 2015 and repeated the feat last year after finding the water three times on the par-four 18th hole as an ugly sextuple-bogey 10 in the second round left him four shots adrift of making the weekend.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this week. I think I’ve got some demons to exorcise,” Lahiri told the PGA Tour. “Played pretty well last year except for 18 and it’ll be nice to get back out there and exact some revenge. “I feel I can play good on this golf course. It’s also good I’ve already played here a few times, I know what to do, know what the conditions are and know where the misses should be. It’s a week where I feel well prepared for.”
Last year, Lahiri arrived at his 36th hole on even par for the tournament, five strokes behind the clubhouse leaders and on course to make the halfway cut in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Three bad swings later and his tournament was over as he hooked all three balls into the water hazard that lines the left side of the hole, failing to advance when a double-bogey six would have still been enough to stay involved.
“I don’t even remember if it was an eight, 10 or a 12,” Lahiri said. “It was a big number. I’ve already decided I’ll hit two-iron off that tee regardless of the pin and regardless of the wind. “There are holes that don’t fit your eye and you’ve got to adjust. If you shoot a three there, it’s a bonus but I’ll be aiming for a four. There may be an occasion I might have to hit driver if I’m in contention or if I’m one back.”
The two-time Presidents Cup International Team member made a strong start to the year with top-10 finishes at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the CJ Cup in Korea. But his form has dipped since and Lahiri hopes he will be in top shape ahead of the $11 million showpiece event, considered within golf as the sport’s ‘fifth major’. “I feel a lot of departments are working but my scoring hasn’t been as good as I would like it to be,” Lahiri added.
“That’s where I’m going to be focusing on my work over the next two days here, in and around the greens and working on getting the speed right on the greens and making sure I’m comfortable with some of the shots that you get around here.”