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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Anirban Lahiri exits; Gary Woodland takes lead from Justin Rose at US Open Golf Championships

The 31-year-old Indian, playing his first Major in 2019, never really got going in either round as he crashed out of US Open, because of his poor showings on the first two days which didn't give him a chance to make up for it.

By: PTI | Pebble Beach | Published: June 15, 2019 7:36:05 pm
Anirban Lahiri, Shubhankar sharma India, Golf news, Memorial Tournament, sports news, Indian express Anirban Lahiri crashes out of US Open (File Photo)

Anirban Lahiri ended a forgettable week as he added a six-over to his first round 74 to crash out of the 119th US Open golf championships early.

The 31-year-old Indian, playing his first Major in 2019, never really got going in either round. He was four-over after three on the first day, and on the second day he was three-over after the first two holes and never had a chance to make up for the first day 74.

Gary Woodland (65) at nine-under took over the lead from Justin Rose (71) at seven-under, while a slew of established stars, including two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka were lurking close by.

By the time Lahiri was through with his front nine, he was six-over 41 for the stretch and a total of nine-over.

He had two each of birdies and bogeys on back nine for an even par 36, but his total of nine-over 151 meant he was out of the weekend once again.

It was his third missed cut in as many appearances at the Major. He has made cuts in each of the other Majors, but never at the US Open.

On the second day, the event recorded 44 under-par rounds in addition to the 39 on the first day and that despite the greens firming up more than the first day.

The winds that are the hallmark of events at Pebble Beach Golf Links, more so at the U.S. Open Championships on this spectacular Monterey Peninsula layout were kind enough to allow good scoring.

Rose, the first round leader, shot 70 in the second to get to seven-under, but he was overtaken by a 35-year-old Kansas golfer, Woodland, who equalled Rose’s 65 from a day earlier.

Playing his last 22 holes without a bodey Woodland, who has never finished better than T-23 in eight previous U.S. Open starts, had a bogey-free 65 for a two-stroke lead over 2013 champion Rose.

Woodland’s round matched the 18-hole record in U.S. Open at Pebble Beach held by Tiger Woods (2000) and Rose, from a day earlier, but his 36-hole total of 133 (9-under) bettered Woods’ mark of 134 for U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach but was three off the championship 36-hole record of 130 by Martin Kaymer in 2014 at Pinehurst.

Both Woods (70-72) at even par and T-32 and Kaymer (69-75) at T-56 also ensured weekend action, though they were some distance from Woodland and Rose.

“It was huge, because I played beautifully all day. And I just didn’t want to give a shot back,” said, Woodland.

“I’ve been in the situation recently, which has been a huge help. I was leading after 36 holes (2018 PGA), played with Koepka there on Saturday. Playing with Tiger on Sunday at Bellerive (2019 PGA) was a huge daily shot, (just) being in that atmosphere.”

Woodland and Rose are chased by a bunch of proven stars. Louis Oosthuizen (66-70), the 2010 Open champion at St. Andrews, is three strokes back at 6-under 136, while four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy (68-69), the 2011 U.S. Open champion, and Aaron Wise (66-71), who however does not have a Major to his name, are at 137.

Rose said, “There’s a long way to go. And yet I couldn’t think … here and St. Andrews (for the Open Championship) would probably be the two most iconic places to lift a bit of silver. I couldn’t think of anything better. But if you don’t mind, I’m just going to wait a couple of days.”

Snapping at their heels is the two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka who carded a second consecutive 69. He is tied-sixth, five strokes back, alongside the consistent Matt Kuchar, Matt Wallace, Chze Reavie and Chesson Hadley. They are all at four-under 138.

Koepka on the first 36 holes, said, “I feel great. I’m excited. I’ve got a chance. That’s all you can ask for. I just need to make a few putts. Sometimes the hole just needs to open up.”

Woodland, a three-time PGA Tour winner, has held a 36-hole lead in a major championship at last year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club following 64-66, but finished tied-sixth. He was also tied-eighth in last month’s PGA at Bethpage State Park.

Woodland hit 14 of 18 greens and closed the day with a monster 50-footer for birdie on the par-4 ninth.

Rose, who closed with three consecutive birdies on Day 1, grinded out pars on the second day and he did manage a few five to eight footers for par.

Apart from those within a hand-shaking distance away, the leaderboard also has the likes of experienced major winner Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, the 2010 US Open winner at Pebble Beach, Graeme McDowell, 2017 Masters winner, Sergio Garcia. They are all within six of the lead.

The cut came at 2-over 144 with 75 professionals and four amateurs making it to the weekend. The amateur contingent included 2018 U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland.

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