Anirban Lahiri in contention for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

A brilliant 68 helped Anirban Lahiri reach Sunday two strokes off the lead, with José de Jesús Rodríguez and Brandon Hagy on top at 9-under 204.

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Anirban Lahiri - Kevin Prise - PGA TOUR

18 August 2019: The drought that has bothered Anirban Lahiri could finally be at an end. After enduring a painfully drawn out season on the PGA TOUR, life appears to be taking a full circle for the embattled Indian. Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri had forced his way into the PGA TOUR with a good season in 2015, followed by success in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals that year. On Saturday, the 32-year-old found just enough to stay in the hunt with a disciplined 68 including three birdies on either stretch. He is just two strokes off the pace, set by José de Jesús Rodríguez and Brandon Hagy, at 9-under 204.

Rodriguez and Hagy sit ahead of Ben Martin, Scottie Scheffler and Scott Harrington – all three men at 8-under 205. Richy Werenski and Rodriguez had the best effort of the day, making 65 each to force their way up the order. Werenski climbed 33 spots to T11 while Rodriguez jumped into a share of the lead by hopping over 16 other golfers on the leaderboard.

Anirban’s round picked steam when he made three birdies in four holes starting from the 12th. He had already accumulated three birdies by then and came home to three straight pars for a valuable 3-under 68 for the day.

The Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri picked up strokes at the 4th, 6th and 9th holes conceding bogeys at the 5th and 10th holes. Running out of holes to force his way up the order, Anirban sprang to life at the 12th and despite another bogey at the 14th, a terrific birdie from about 15 feet on the 15th helped him move to seven-under.

 

Anirban came agonisingly close to adding to his tally at the 16th and 18th, but fell inches short and settled for tap in pars at both holes.

Hagy earned a share of the lead with a 69 on Saturday. “I drove the ball well off the tee again, so it gave me a lot of opportunities to have scoring clubs in,” said Hagy, who hit 10 of 14 fairways on Saturday. “I made some good five? to 10?foot putts to kind of keep it going on the front nine and the beginning of the back nine. Overall, I’m happy with it.”

He was T41 in the Long Beach Open last week and that seemed to serve him just right leading into the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

“It was good,” Hagy acknowledged. “I hadn’t played in about a month and a half and had several of my friends actually that were playing there. It was a good week to knock the rust off.”

Rodríguez played well to shoot the low round of the day and gain a share of the lead. His seventh birdie of the round came at the final hole to secure his spot at the top of the leaderboard.

“Today was a spectacular day,” Rodríguez said. “I was very consistent from start to finish. I hit it good off the tee and had chances on the green. The putts were very good, too.”

“I’m going to go do the same thing, you know,” he said. “Keep hitting it straight. I’m going to enjoy the game (and trust that) the score is good.”

Anirban could secure his PGA TOUR future by finishing solo sixth or better on Sunday. But the Indian will have his eyes on the silverware, the kind he has been aching for since his last victory at the Hero Indian Open in 2015. The Indian is lying T6, just two off the leaders, in the company of Jamie Arnold, Beau Hossler, Ben Taylor and Viktor Hovland.