Shot at history: Anirban Lahiri comes up short in final stretch : The Tribune India

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Shot at history: Anirban Lahiri comes up short in final stretch

Shot at history: Anirban Lahiri comes up short in final stretch

Needing a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, Anirban Lahiri made a par to fall short by one stroke. AP/PTI


Ponte Vedra Beach (US), March 15

Anirban Lahiri’s quest for a first win on the PGA Tour fell agonisingly short as the Indian golfer finished second in the $20 million Players Championship here.

Coming into the final round with a one-shot lead, Lahiri finished just one stroke behind eventual winner Cameron Smith. Lahiri shot a 3-under 69 in the final round to finish at 12-under.

Australia’s Smith shot a 6-under in the final round, his lowest round of the tournament. When Smith bogeyed the 18th hole, he still led Lahiri by two strokes. However, after a superb birdie on the 17th hole — the iconic Island Green — Lahiri needed a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff. The Indian, who had not birdied the 18th in his previous three rounds, could manage only a par as his approach fell short of the green.

I want to win. I’ve been here seven years; haven’t got over the line yet Anirban Lahiri

This was, nonetheless, an impressive return to form for the seasoned pro as he walked away with a career-best $2.18 million purse.

“I want to win. I’ve been here seven years; haven’t got over the line yet,” said a disappointed Lahiri, who was bidding to become the second Indian after Arjun Atwal to win on the PGA Tour. “That’s definitely a monkey I want to get off my back. Today was as good an opportunity as any,” he added.

But the overall performance was a major boost to his confidence. “I’m just relieved. I’ve gone through two years of playing horrible. The last time I contended in a field this good was at Memorial maybe, five years ago, or even that was a back-door second. I shot 7-under on Sunday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this position in a quality field like this,” said Lahiri.

It was the 34-year-old’s second career runners-up finish following the 2017 Memorial Tournament and pushed him up to 45th position on the FedExCup with 330 points.

Despite a double-bogey on the eighth, Lahiri pulled himself back with a stunning eagle — his third of the week — on the 11th.

“I guess at one point on the 16th, I thought it was kind of out of reach, but then again, birdie on 17 kind of opened the door. I gave it a good go. Made some mistakes that I could have avoided, but that’s golf. This is a really positive week for me going forward,” said Lahiri.

“It’s huge, because when you go through such a lean period for such a long time… Your belief takes a hit. I’m going to re-cement the foundation and work upwards from here,” he added. —

#anirban lahiri #golf

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