San Antonio: After a series of five missed cuts this year, Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri finally heaved a sigh of relief, signing off with a 3-under 69 to finish fifth at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday. This was Lahiri’s best finish on the PGA Tour this season.
Though Lahiri’s aggregate of 10-under 278 over four days was eight shots adrift of the winner, America’s Jordan Spieth who shot a 66 on the final day, it was of little concern to the Indian as he had finally come into his own after struggling all of this year as he tried to “simplify his golf swing and unclutter his thoughts”.
Lahiri made birdies on three of the four par-5s, including a five-footer on the last and earned 110 FedExCup points to move from 125th to 94th on the latest standings. The boost in ranking has enhanced his chances of qualifying for the lucrative Playoffs in August.
Beginning Day 4 five shots behind joint leaders Spieth and Britain’s Matt Wallace, the former Asian No. 1 overcame a string of unimpressive runs, where he has missed five cuts in seven starts this year, with some delectable shots.
“I didn’t quite get into the hunt there was too much separation between the leader group and the rest of us. I think overall through the week, I didn’t convert as many of my opportunities. I hit the ball good enough to contend and maybe win but my bunker play and my short game, and putting from mid-range to short range was below par,” said Lahiri.
“Those are the things I need to work on. I’ve put a lot of work in the full swing and ball striking in the last month or so, and to see that working and holding up under pressure is pleasing. Overall, it was a great week. I’m very happy with how I kept my composure and kind of stuck to what I needed to do. It was one of those weeks that I could have done a lot more but I’d rather build on this and work on some of the areas where I came up short on.”
With his coach, Vijay Divecha, scheduled to visit Lahiri in the US soon, the Indian ace can look forward to a much improved show on the PGA Tour as it approaches the business end. “I gave myself a lot of good looks. The first day, I was guilty of not hitting it quite as close. The second day, I missed lots of opportunities, and could have shot 5 to 6-under. Third round, I hit it even better than I hit it today. I felt like if I was scoring better, I could have shot a few 5, 6, 7 under and that was the difference in the end,” said Lahiri.
“I need to clean up on some of the areas like chipping and bunker play, which has been my strength. I’ll go back to the drawing board and spend time getting more confidence in those areas and also in my mid-range and short range putts. I’ve done well outside of 15 feet but not done well inside of 12 feet. Those are the areas that I’ll be working on and hopefully get better in time to come.”
Meanwhile, it was Spieth’s 12th PGA Tour win following a final round of 66.