21 May, 2018: Anirban Lahiri shot a brilliant 67 in the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship, finishing the week in T26. After missing three cuts in his last four events, this was a resounding bounce back by the determined Indian golfer.
Lahiri will have found a spring in his step, as he departed Dallas after a successful week. The 105th ranked Indian should find himself back inside the top 100 soon enough, with the good finish this past week, pointing towards a return in form for Anirban.
The 30 year old shot a 67 on Sunday to propel himself inside the top 30, fighting back from a couple of bogeys at the turn to end the week on a high.
Anirban made birdies on 16 & 17 to climb up the order, but he was pushed back when the course extracted bogeys at the 18thand then at the 2ndhole.
As he reached the par-5 7thhole, Anirban was rooted to the same spot where he started the day. After making some early gains with a couple of brilliant rounds, Anirban was pegged back by a disappointing 72 on Saturday.
But he turned potential disappointment into a rousing finish with a sensational downhill putt for an eagle. That turned the tide and Anirban closed out with a pair of birdies to secure his best finish since the Genesis Open earlier this year.
“It felt good to finish with a flourish. I kept hitting good shots all day, but didn’t really take advantage on the greens,” said a relieved Lahiri to Golfing Indian. “To make a downhill 25 footer on 7 really gave me a boost. I hit a couple of accurate approach shots to 4-5 feet on 8 & 9 to finish.
“I can take a lot of positives from here. Ball striking is definitely trending in the right direction. It has been steadily improving,” added Anirban, who was honest in his assessment of his game. “I still have some work to do on the greens. It felt like I gave away 8-10 strokes this week inside 10 feet.”
The ambitious young golfer from India has always reckoned that he is a golfer for the big stages. The recent decline, on the back of an equipment move to Callaway, must have hurt him more than we might ever be able to understand.
After a top five finish in Korea helped him climb to 58thin the rankings, it has been a steady downward slide that dropped him outside the top 100 for the first time since April 2014. Despite playing some solid golf, albeit in patches, Anirban reached Dallas carrying the burden of three missed cuts in four events.
But the several weeks of work with his coach and a deeper engagement with his new tools seemed to be finally paying off at the Byron Nelson last week. Even though he desired a better performance on the greens, he will take confidence into his next few events. Anirban shot three rounds in the 60s, for the first time since the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
“Heading into Colonial and Memorial – both events that I have played well in before – so definitely looking forward to it,” said Lahiri. “I hope to build on this week to finish better in the coming weeks.”
In fact the Memorial is Anirban’s best ever finish – he was T2 last year at the event. Another high finish could do wonders to the golfer and take his season on an upward spiral.