Kuala Lumpur, October 12, 2017: On a pleasant day for golf, Anirban Lahiri produced four birdies in his first five holes to make a rousing start to his campaign in the CIMB Classic. SSP Chawrasia had an unremarkable start before working his way back to sanity. An even 72 was a good effort after dropping to two over at the start of the first round of the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour event in Malaysia. Cameron Smith (64) was leading by one over Poom Saksansin (65) and Xander Schauffele (65).
Chawrasia steadied his boat after a rocky start at the 10th hole. The Indian, placed fourth on the Asian Tour order of merit, had to climb his way back from there.
The gritty man from Kolkata played a steady hand before recovering a stroke at the 318 yard 16th hole. Chawrasia made the turn in 37 shots.
On his second nine, Chawrasia made birdies at the 444 yard, par-4 second hole and another at the par-5 fifth hole.
At one under with two holes to play, Chawrasia conceded another bogey at the par-3 8th hole to settle for an even 72 on his card. It were the par-3 holes that hurt Chawrasia – he was +3 on them, while he gained two strokes on the par-4 and one at the par-5 fifth.
“The double bogey at the start proved expensive,” said Chawrasia. “I did miss a few, especially on my first nine, but I also made several saves. So I am happy overall with how I played today.”
Anirban, fresh of a character filled effort in the Presidents Cup, took off in fine fashion. He shot five birdies on his first nine, starting at the 10th hole, an hour after Chawrasia teed off.
The 68th ranked Indian fell back to four under with a bogey at the first hole, but the recovered the lost stroke soon after with a fine birdie at the 503 yard, par-5 third hole. He made par at each of the remaining six holes to coast home at five under 67.
“I got off to a red hot start,” said Anirban. “But the bogey at the first stalled momentum and I began to push myself harder. I thought I left a few shots there on the front nine.”
“The finish was a bit disappointing,” he added. “Overall though I am happy with the start. This is going to be a low scoring week, so will need to keep staying in the short grass and make some putts to carry this into Sunday.”
The conditions at the TPC Kuala Lumpur are benign and the players are taking advantage. There are as many as seventeen players within four off the lead.
Cameron Smith 64
Poom Saksansin, Xander Schauffele, Keegan Bradley 65
Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Pat Perez 66
Brendan Steele, Anirban Lahiri, Phachara Khongwatmai, Davis Love III 67
SSP Chawrasia 72