February 4, 2017 11:09:44 pm
India’s top professional Anirban Lahiri and his compatriot amateur Rayhan Thomas both came through an extremely long day to make the cut, but SSP Chawrasia missed out at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai on Saturday.
Lahiri, once again going through finishing woes in both the second and third round, shot 75 and 70 in the second and third round and was Tied-41st, while 17-year-old Thomas, winning the admiration of all his seniors, shot 75 and 75 to be Tied-54th.
Lahiri was two-under for the tournament, just where he was after the first round and the first three holes of second round. Thomas, who was four-under through 21 holes is now one-over through 36.
On Saturday, the momentum kept slipping away just when it seemed to be coming Lahiri’s way. Starting on fourth for the remainder of his second round, he had three birdies and just one bogey over the next 12 to move to four-under.
A bogey on 16th set him back, but worse followed. His second shot on the 18th, which he eagled on first day, went into water. By the time he came out, he had a crippling eight against his name. From four-under for 33 holes he was even par in 36.
In the third round starting on tenth, he bogeyed and birdied once each till 16th. Then followed a great birdie run for next four holes from 17th and the streak could have extended to six.
“I had chances on both third and fourth to make birdie run longer, but the putts did not fall,” said Lahiri.
Then as in each of his three rounds, he gave away a lot of the gains in the closing stages with bogeys on sixth and seventh.
“I have just not finished well in any of the rounds. I gave away two strokes in last three holes in first round, then four in last three in second round and again two in third round. That’s eight shots. That simply cannot happen, if you want to contend,” added Lahiri.
Dubai-based Thomas did Indian golf proud by making the cut, despite some disastrous holes — he had three doubles and one triple. But the good thing for the 17-year-old was that he also made nine birdies. Strangely all his nine birdies on Saturday -– four in second round and five in third -– came on the backstretch of the course.
Sergio Garcia (68) and Henrik Stenson (67) got closing birdies in near pitch-darkness to finish their third round. Stenson raced to complete his third round with a final birdie in failing light, with playing partners Peter Uihlein, who birdied, and Chris Paisley who got a par.
Minutes later, in greater darkness, Garcia’s group did even better. Garcia and George Coetzee birdied while Elvira Nachos landed an eagle. Garcia shot 68 and moved to 16-under and now holds a three-shot lead over Stenson (67). Ian Poulter (67) and Prom Meesawat (68) were tied third at 11-under.
Tyrrell Hatton had the best third round at 65, which included an eagle two on par-4 17th, but he bogeyed his final hole, the ninth.
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