Oct 05, 2018: It was not best of starts to a new season for Anirban Lahiri, who had a disappointing 1-over 73 and was way down after the first round of the Safeway Open, which saw a bunch rookies shooting low and holding the spotlight.
On a rather cloudy day at the $ 6.4 million Safeway Open Lahiri had a birdie early on third, but suffered a lapse around the sixth and seventh holes. He three-putted the sixth and then bogeyed the seventh from inside six feet. Despite getting a shot back on eighth, he was not hitting close enough to give himself chances and when he did have 10-12 feet for makeable putts, he missed some of them. Birdies on 11th and 12th showed recovery but he bogeyed 15th and 17th. He missed from just over 10 feet on 17th and from 11-12 feet on 18th.
This is Lahiri’s first time playing the Safeway Open at the Par-72 Silverado Resort and Spa (North).
Rookie Sepp Straka in his first-ever start on the PGA Tour birdied the final three holes to post a bogey-free 9-under 63 and grab sole lead with another rookie, Chase Wright carding 64 and veteran Phil Mickelson who reeled off six straight birdies en route to a 7-under 65.
The 2016 and 2017 Safeway Open winner Brendan Steele opened with a 5-under 67 and he seeks to emulate Steve Stricker, the last player on the PGA TOUR to win an event ?three consecutive years and that was at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.
Interestingly, all the 21 PGA TOUR rookies are in the field and four rookies are inside the top five after round one.
Straka, a native of Austria, earned his rookie card to the PGA TOUR this season after finishing 40th on the 2018 Web.com Tour priority list. Wright, 29, also a rookie, played his last five holes in five-under par with a run that was birdie-par-eagle-birdie-birdie to post a bogey-free 8-under 64
Mickelson made six consecutive birdies from ninth to 14th en route to a 7-under 65 and he was one short of his record for most consecutive birdies.