Anirban Lahiri made a superb birdie-birdie start but was unable to keep the momentum going, finishing Tied 23rd in the second round of the Valspar Championship here. After consecutive birdies on 10th and 11th, Lahiri gave away shots on 16th and 18th. On his second nine, he birdied second and eighth but bogeyed fourth and seventh to finish the day at even par 71 at Innisbrook.
With the scoring being low, Lahiri looks set for a good finish with his two-day total of one-under 141. He is five shots behind the leader. The cut fell at one-over 143.
Paul Casey (70-66), the defending champion, played wonderfully on Friday for a round of 66 that puts him at six-under 136, the same as Austin Cook (69-67).
Casey holed a 30-foot eagle putt on the 599-yard fifth hole and made short birdie putts on the other three par 5s on his way to a 5-under 66. He is trying to win back-to-back titles at the Valspar Championship, something no one has done since it became a PGA TOUR event in 2000.
Scott Stallings (68) and Sungjae Im (67) were one shot behind, while Dustin Johnson overcame a rough patch early in his round with five birdies on the front nine to salvage a 69. Johnson was two shots behind on a Copperhead course he hasn’t seen in nine years.
Joel Dahmen (66-72) and Sepp Straka (66-76), who shared the 18-hole lead at 5-under, were among those playing in the afternoon. Dahmen was Tied-6th, while Straka slipped to Tied-35.
There was also focus on the 17-year-old Akshay Bhatia who made his PGA TOUR debut. He is playing on a sponsor exemption and was at 3-under for the day and even par for the tournament through eight holes until a muffed chip and a missed putt led to a double bogey at No. 9 that killed his momentum.
Bhatia (76-72) bogeyed his last two holes for a 72 and finished at 4-over 146 to miss the cut. He plans to turn pro later this year after the Walker Cup if he makes the team. PTI COR APA
Madappa, Chikka best Indians at 22nd, Sharma slips to 30th in Malaysia
Young guns Viraj Madappa (70) and S Chikkarangappa (68) were the best-placed Indians at tied 22nd after three rounds of the Maybank Championship here Saturday.
Chikka leapfrogged 33 places, while Madappa, who won his maiden Asian Tour title last year, went up eight spots.
Defending champion, Shubhankar Sharma (74) had a rough day after rising up to fifth place.
The 22-year-old was pushed back by bogeys on fifth and sixth and then 13th and 14th. His birdies were on first and 18th. At the end of the third day, he was lying T-30 alongside SSP Chawrasia (70).
Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (75) were Tied-51 was Tied-67 respectively.
Spain’s Elvira Nacho reclaimed his place atop the leader board by posting a six-under-par 66 to snatch the outright third round lead.
The 32-year-old had earlier taken a share of the opening round lead but slipped a spot down after carding a 72 on Friday.
The Spaniard however, responded well by compiling a three-day total of 13-under-par 203 to stay ahead of the chasing pack by two shots at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
American David Lipsky, who finished second at the Maybank Championship in 2017, made his move by signing for a 67 to take second place on his own.
Australia’s Scott Hend and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond are bunched in third place together with Maximillian Kieffer of Germany.
Hend, a nine-time Asian Tour winner, is seeking his first win since 2016 while Jazz is chasing his fourth Asian Tour victory and second in three months. They both head into the final round three shots back of Elvira.
Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman enjoyed his best round of the week so far by carding a 68 to move inside the top-10 to take a share of ninth place alongside South African Louis De Jager and the English pair of Andy Sullivan and Ross Fisher.
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