April 15, 2017: The break seems to have done Anirban Lahiri a world of good. The 80th ranked Indian shot one under 70 on Friday, adding to his brilliant 67 in the first round. Lahiri is lying T16, five strokes off the pace set by Luke Donald and Graham DeLaet. Both those men shot identical scores 65-67 in the two rounds to capture the halfway lead from Ian Poulter and Webb Simpson (8-under 134).
The putter has been Anirban’s enemy this season. Despite playing some great golf, Lahiri has struggled to force his way up the order, bleeding strokes around the greens.
The evidence thus far at Hilton Head, South Carolina suggests that Lahiri has finally put those woes to bed. After a stellar opening round, Anirban opened with a birdie at the second hole in the second round.
Another birdie at the 11th, took him to six under as he kept marching along without a blemish on the card. Lahiri suffered his only bogey of the day at the 14th before coasting home with four straight pars.
Luke Donald meanwhile, is looking to end a five-year drought on the PGA TOUR. He hasn’t won in America since he defeated Jim Furyk at the 2012 Valspar Championship. Donald was runner-up at the RBC Heritage last year.
Donald took a share of the lead with a brilliant chip at the 18th, some 40 feet from the flag. “I felt good over the chip shot and I have always pitched well around here,” he said.
“The grass lends itself to being able to spin the ball so I just caught that one right and it trickled in the edge of the hole.
“It was fun to see that go in.”
The last time Donald had a share of the 36-hole lead was, believe it or not, at the 2011 RBC Heritage.
“It would be nice if I could go on and win as the last couple of years have been a struggle”, he said.
“But then I still feel I have some good years left in me, so I do need to continue to play well over the week and try to finish off this weekend”.