Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri got off to a solid start despite some early bogeys as he shot four-under 67 to be placed at tied-fifth in the first round of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship here.
The tournament is the first one in the series of three-event Korn Ferry finals.
Lahiri, who is trying to find his way back to the PGA Tour through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, had six birdies and two bogeys. He had three birdies in last four holes after being two-over through first five.
He was placed tied-fifth and two behind co-leaders Viktor Hovland and Cameron Percy, who carded 64 each.
Things, however, did not pan out too well for India's other challenger Shubhankar Sharma who had an eventful but disappointing four-over 75. Sharma had one birdie, one eagle, five bogeys and one double bogey.
Lahiri, who found himself out of the FedExCup play-offs for the first time since 2016, needs to finish in Top-25 of the Money List for the three event series to get back to the PGA Tour.
Interestingly, that was the route he used to get to the PGA Tour at the end of 2015. The finals then had four events and Lahiri was T-6 and T-16 in the first two events and he skipped the last two to prepare for the President's Cup.
He still made his PGA card and kept it for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Lahiri's last pro win came at the Hero Indian Open in 2015.
"I got off to a bad start, but played good as things went on. I dropped a shot on 11th and then hit a bad drive but I started getting more comfortable later on. The greens were slower than what I have played in recent months. But then I was getting more comfortable with the surfaces as things went on," Lahiri said.
"This is a tricky golf course. Lot of places you can leave yourselves in a not too good position," he added.
He said he was feeling good coming this week after taking some rest.
"I decided not to play Reno and Barbasol because I had played so much. I am in a good place with my game now. Frankly, you don't want to be here (Korn Ferry Finals) to make the card. You have 25 events to get it done. Personally I reached my limit (with events). There were times I was exhausted. So I took time off and was feeling rested.
"The idea is to play good golf these three weeks and going forward and let us see how it goes," said Lahiri after a fine start.
Lahiri had a rough start as he started from 10th and bogeyed 11th and 14th to go two-over. Thereafter he played some superb golf, finding the fairways and hitting his irons well enough to give himself chances. He also converted them. He birdied 16th to turn in one-over.
On the back nine of the Scarlet Course, he birdied first, third, sixth, eighth and ninth. The three birdies on last four holes ensured a great opening day.
Norwegian youngster Viktor Hovland and American Cameron Percy shot 7-under 64 each to claim a share of the first-round lead. Doug Ghim sits one stroke behind after posting a 6-under 65, while Matthew NeSmith trails by two after an opening-round 66.
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