July 01 2018: It was hot on Saturday at the TPC Potomac in Maryland. Anirban Lahiri took to the conditions like a fish to water, scorching the course with a fiery 65 that helped him climb 41 spots on the leaderboard. The Indian, who turned 31 this week, produced a stellar effort to come back from a disappointing 74 on Friday to end the day at T25 with Byeong Hun An and seven other golfers. At the front were Abraham Ancer (62) and Francesco Molinari (65), 13-under through 54 holes, two strokes clear of Zac Blair and Ryan Armour.
There are four spots available this week for the Open and only Molinari has secured one so far. Sunday is set to be exciting with Ancer, Blair, Armour, Andrew Landry (-10), Troy Merritt (-8), C.T. Pan (-8) and overnight leader Beau Hossler (-8) in the running to grab one of those four tickets.
Ancer (#116 on the FedexCup points) & Molinari (#123) will also look to ride this momentum to secure their places inside the top 125 that secure a PGA TOUR card for 2018-19. The Mexican shot four birdies on either nine to account for his third round 62. The Italian shot six birdies and a bogey at the 8th in his 65.
Anirban played with renewed focus and determination, eager to make the best of his apparent return to form. After a brilliant week at the Travellers, Anirban was well on his way when he made a solid 67 in the first round. It was his fifth straight round in the 60s and then came the blip on Friday.
The 101st ranked Indian did well to put his birthday blues behind him with an assertive round on a seething Saturday. The first birdie came at the fifth, where he sank a 19 footer with precision.
Anirban sailed his approach shots to within three feet on both the par-4 7th and 8th holes to pick up two more birdies. At the 456 yard par-4 11th hole, the Indian moved to four under for the round with another great putt from 19 feet.
After adding a fifth birdie at the 13th hole, Anirban suffered his lone blemish in the third round. He fired his tee shot into the greenside bunker at the par-3 17th hole and needed three from the sand.
Anirban erased that immediately, securing his sixth birdie on the day with a brilliant putt from 18 feet, right into the heart of the cup. His strokes gained-putting was a telling number – 3.441, way above the week’s average of 2.281
The Indian is 95th on the FedexCup with 392 points. A strong finish this week should help lift Anirban into a solid place with playing rights out of the equation as he marches toward the end of the season events.