Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri missed a fair number of short putts, yet his four-under 67 that included a bogey on the 18th gave him his best start at BMW Championships, the third leg of the FedExCup play-offs on the PGA Tour, in Lake Forest on Friday.
Ten days ago, Lahiri was on the verge of packing for the 2017 season, when he got a double dose of great news.
First, he found himself as the 70th man in for the BMW Championships despite being T-56 at the second leg in Dell Technologies, and 24 hours later, Lahiri also got the call that he was also the ‘last man in’ as one of two captain’s picks for the President’s Cup.
Lahiri had a fine front nine, despite a bogey on second. He birdied third and then three in a row from sixth to eighth to turn in three-under.
On the back nine, he added three more birdies on 12th, 14th and 15th to go to six-under and was in Top-5 before hitting a roadblock with bogeys on 16th and 18th.
He missed a four-footer for par on second and three other putts between 11 and 13 feet.
“That should have been a far better round than what it turned out to be,” said Lahiri, who was looking charged up and ready for the Presidents Cup in two weeks time.
Meanwhile, Lahiri’s teammate for the international team, Australian Marc Leishman, must have gladdened his skipper Nick Price’s heart with 10 birdies in the opening round and a card of nine-under 62 to build a two-shot lead.
Another international team member Jason Day had his best start in 16 months with a 64.
At Conway Farms, Leishman was the man to watch. Third at TPC Boston two weeks ago, Leishman just practiced putting last week and today he had seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the middle of his round and matched his best score on the PGA TOUR.
Day made five birdies on the back nine a week after deciding Colin Swatton, the biggest influence in his golf career, would not caddie for at least the rest of the year.
Day used an old roommate from his school days in Australia, Luke Reardon.
American Charley Hoffman, picked for the President’s Cup a week ago, birdied his last two holes for a 64.
Jordan Spieth, second in the last two FedExCup Playoff events and now No. 1 in standings, shot a bogey-free 65, the same as Rickie Fowler.
The top 30 in the FedExCup after this week make it to the TOUR Championship at East Lake for a mathematical shot at the USD 10 million bonus.