19 January 2019: Anirban Lahiri is showing intent and intensity very early in this new season on the PGA TOUR. After a staid 70 in the opening round, the 150th ranked Indian produced a stellar second round to force his way up the order in the Desert Classic. Anirban squeezed out eight birdies in a flourishing workout on the La Quinta course, climbing 49 spots to reach the weekend at T21. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson added a 68 to his opening round 60 to retain a two stroke advantage over Curtis Luck. Both men played on the Nicklaus Tournament course.
Luck made a 66 on Friday, even as Adam Hadwin and Steve Marino, both lying in T3 went around the La Quinta series in 66 and 65 respectively.
Anirban began his round on the tenth hole of La Quinta. His first birdie of the day came at the 13th hole and he added a couple before the bend, moving to 5-under through 27 holes.
A birdie at the second was negated immediately when he conceded a bogey at the next hole. But Anirban did not allow the round to slip away, recovering with a birdie at the fourth hole. He signed off in style, posting a hat-trick of birdies from the 7th hole to end the day at nine-under, just two strokes adrift of the top ten pace.
Joey Garber with a 64 inched his way up to T5 with Jon Rahm and Wyndham Clark. The three men are 12-under at 132, just one stroke from Hadwin and Marino.
Then there are three men lying T8 – Sean O’Hair, Abraham Ancer (67 each) and Patrick Cantlay (68) rounded off the top ten at the halfway stage of the tournament in La Quinta, California.
Anirban was at his fluent best in the second round. Driving an average of 278.5 yards, he made 77.8% greens in regulation. He converted most of his opportunities on Friday to set the tone for a promising weekend.