Anirban Lahiri brought home a card of one-under 71 in the final round to sign off tied 10th at CIMB Classic and make a good start to the new season on the PGA Tour, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Lahiri did not quite manage the kind of a low round he had envisaged for the final day but he managed a Top-10 finish after aggregating 13-under 275.
Starting the day at 12-under, Lahiri carded four birdies and three bogeys in the final round at TPC Kuala Lumpur to slip to tied 10 from overnight sixth.
With another no-cut event coming up in Korea next week, Lahiri has a good chance to give himself the early momentum for the new season.
SSP Chawrasia (75) slipped further six places and finished at 68th, but the big relief for the two-time Hero Indian Open champion, was that he did not slip on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The Indian maintained his fourth place at Asian Tour and qualified for the WGC-HSBC in 10 days time. The top four on Asian Tour Merit list qualify for the USD 9.5 million WGC-HSBC, where the field is 78 and there is no cut.
Lahiri will play the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, Korea next week, while Chawrasia heads home and comes back for WGC-HSBC in Shanghai the week after. Lahiri will head back to US after Korea.
At the top Pat Perez, who began his comeback from injury at the same event last year and finished T-33rd, completed the journey by becoming the oldest winner at 41. Perez (69), leader by four after 54 holes, kept the margin the same and finished at 24-under 264.
But behind him, Keegan Bradley (67) moved ahead from T-4 to second at 20-under 268 while Xander Schauffele (72) dropped from second overnight to T-3rd with Korea’s Sung Kang (71).
The big gainer on the final day was young Australian Cameron Smith (64) as he leapt from Tied-10th to Tied-5th with Hideki Matsuyama (71).
Though Perez gave no one chance, Lahiri just could not find the momentum he needed to get even a long shot. He birdied the third, but bogeys on sixth and eighth meant he was out of the race, but still had a chance of Top-10.
That he ensured on the back nine with back-to-back birdies on 13th and 14th and yet another on 17th, but in between he dropped a shot on 16th.
At 13-under, he was tenth alongside Rafa Cabrera-Bello (69) and Peter Uihlein (69), and one spot behind the trio Paul Casey (65), Danny Lee (67) and Lucas Glover (68), who were 14 -under. Two-time defending champion Justin Thomas (67) was Tied-17th.
“I’m very disappointed with the way I played today. There were a couple of technical things I was working on and I think I went out on the golf course carrying that. So yeah, I think my mindset wasn’t where it needed to be so that’s another lesson learned the hard way, I suppose,” Lahiri said.
“I actually made a lot of bad swings which were unnecessary. I wasn’t playing my natural game and then I just got behind it and kind of let the momentum go. I was happy to get that back, but again, 16, 17, 18th holes, I played in even par and that’s been my weakness this week. “I think those last three holes you have to play it 5 or 6 under at least and that’s where I struggled. The 16th, I played to over par (for the week). That for me was something that’s going to hurt me. I’m happy to finish 10th, but given where I was, I’m disappointed with how I played today.”