03 April 2021: He was flowing like serene river for eleven holes of the second round. And then there was a storm. Anirban Lahiri produced a frenzied finish to the second round, packing the last seven holes with a round’s worth of action. He packed three birdies, an eagle and three bogeys as he came home to a 69 in the Valero Texas Open. It was enough to tap him inside the top ten at 4-under through 36 holes. Cameron Tringale added a 69 to his opening 66, moving two shots clear at 9-under. Tringale has the edge over Matt Wallace (68) and Jordan Spieth (70), who are at 7-under 137.
Lahiri was marching through TPC San Antonio without a hint of strain, picking a birdie on the second hole along the way. But soon as he made the turn, he made a birdie on twelve before producing a thrilling ride that could sit nicely in a Disney park.
He made a 20-footer for eagle on the 14th hole. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Lahiri ended the day with a bogey after finding water on the par-5 18th hole. After enduring some disappointments recently – he has missed five cuts in seven attempts this year – a good performance this week will be just the pill he needs to turn a corner.
“I’ve been working on my ball striking and it was nice to see it come together. I was happy that I made a lot of birdies, dropped a few but trying to keep a clean card over the weekend,” said Lahiri.
After making the bold decision to sit out the Corales Championship, where he finished T6 during the wraparound phase last year, Anirban went home to Florida to try and work on his game. The results are showing already this week. His tee to green numbers have soared, as he produced a marked improvement from his overall standing of 150th this season. Anirban is rating 37th for the week in strokes gained – tee to green for the Texas Open.
“I feel like I’m moving in the right direction and it’s progressing in a good way. I still need to stay on top of it and keep building on it,” he added.
In an incredible reversal of fortunes, Sung Kang followed his 66 with a 76 on Friday, dropping to two-under. Hideki Matsuyama also slipped out of the top ten with a 74. The Japanese is lying T14 with Kang in T19.
Like Anirban, Tringale too found his treasure on the back nine. He made a string of birdies from 13 through 17 to force his way to the top. Tringale is chasing a first victory in his 297th start, the most starts without a victory since 2009. Spieth is seeking to end a drought of a very different nature. The 14-time winner has not won since 2017 and a victory here could set the perfect tone for The Masters next week.
The Texan has been on a hot run recently. He has four top ten finishes in his last six tournaments. Birdies at 14 & 15 kept him within touch and poised nicely for a promising weekend.
“I’m really pleased with where things are at, but they’re not where I want them to be at,” he said. “I’m trying to kind of take it slowly and patiently and reward myself, be excited about the good ones and not get too down about the bad ones.”
78 professionals at 2-over 146 from a field of 141 professionals and three amateurs.
Cameron Tringale 66-69—135 (-9)
Matt Wallace 69-68—137 (-7)
Jordan Spieth 67-70—137 (-7)
Kevin Stadler 69-70—139 (-5)
Kyle Stanley 71-68—139 (-5)
Erik van Rooyen 71-68—139 (-5)
Brandt Snedeker 72-67—139 (-5)