Anirban Lahiri stays in contention for title

 Anirban Lahiri, making his debut at the Web.com Tour, stayed within striking distance of his maiden title in the United States as he took the sole second place at the end of the third round of the Hotel Fitness Championship.

Anirban Lahiri stays in contention for title

Fort Wayne: Anirban Lahiri, making his debut at the Web.com Tour, stayed within striking distance of his maiden title in the United States as he took the sole second place at the end of the third round of the Hotel Fitness Championship.

After starting with a bogey, Lahiri (70) closed with a disappointing double bogey to be three behind the leader, Korea's D H Lee (66).

Lahiri is now 12-under 204 for 54 holes, while Lee is 15-under 201 as the two players go out together in the final pairing.

The Indian golfer, who spent a fair bit of time on the range soon after his second round 65 at the Sycamore Golf Course, admitted, he "was just trying to hang in there" in the third round.

The highest ranked player this week, Lahiri birdied all the par-5s in his third and had two other birdies on fourth and 16th. He bogeyed the first, seventh and double bogeyed the 18th.

"(It was) just grinding all day. It's hard because I was hitting it all over the shop. But all in all, I'm just three back. If I can put another good 18 holes together tomorrow we'll see if I can get over the line," he said.

The winner of two European Tour events -- the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open -- at the start of this year, Lahiri hit only nine greens in regulation.

"My game is usually a ball-striking game. It's not a scrambling game," Lahiri, who chipped in from off the green on the par-5, 12th for a birdie, said.

"It's kind of weird for me to be doing what I'm doing, but having said that I'm proud because I've obviously improved on that aspect. Now I just want the real Anirban to show up tomorrow."

Lahiri, who will tee up in South Korea next month for the International Team at the Presidents Cup, was confident he would handle the 'minor' alignment issue in his driving.

"I don't know how you would grade C and C-minus. I think it's more about confidence on the course. When you're not confident off the tee, you're not picking lines; you're seeing areas where you don't want to hit it. The more comfortable I get on the range, the more comfortable I can get on the tee.

"Considering the way I played I am happy with the way I hung in there. I would have been happier to be a bit closer and I was disappointed at the way I finished," said Lahiri.

 

Lahiri was candid and admitted, "I did not think I hit lot of good quality golf shots. (But) I managed to scramble and keep out of trouble till the last (double bogey). Still, it was a good round."

Speaking about the course, Lahiri said, "There are some holes that you try and make birdies, like the par-5s. The par-3s on this golf course are the stronger one and the 18th is a tough hole. But as long as you hit the greens, you are fine. It is really important to get off to a good start. It is important to get to 2-3-4 under quickly and then put some pressure early (on leader Lee).

"I don't want to push too hard on the back nine," he said while talking about his plan for the final day.

Meanwhile, Lee moved into the lead with a round that had seven birdies against just one bogey in the first of four Web.com Tour Finals events.

Starting the day two back of halfway leader Jamie Lovemark, Lee holed six birdies to finish at 15-under 201 under breezy afternoon conditions.

Behind sole second Lahiri, there was Sam Saunders (65), sole third at 11-under. Scott Harrington (66), Jonathan Byrd (67), Brett Stegmaier (69), and Lovemark (73) were tied for fourth at 10-under.

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