Fort Wayne: Anirban Lahiri shot seven-under 65 to rise to the second place at the halfway stage of the Hotel Fitness Championships, the first of the four Web.com Tour Finals series here.
Lahiri was 10-under 134, one behind the leader Jamie Lovemark (67-66). The Indian, the highest world ranked player in the field, had a superb start and may well have been the joint leader, but for a three-putt bogey on the last, when the 10-footer for par curled away from the cup.
"I made a ton of putts on the front nine. I have not putted that good in a while," admitted Lahiri, who tied for fifth at the recent PGA Championship.
"I was terrible off the tee all day. I hardly found any fairways," he added.
Lahiri hit only 50 per cent of the 14 fairways and found only 11 greens in regulation but his putted was the key. He needed 32 putts in the opening round but only 22 in the second.
Lying 16th overnight Lahiri, winner of the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open this season, began with a birdie on the tenth on a morning that had steady showers.
After the opening birdie, Lahiri was on fire as he rolled in four more on the trot from 12th to 15th to be five-under through the first six holes. He took the momentum into the second nine with some fine putting that included some good par saves.
"It was weird because I was five-under (after 6) and was feeling that I was over-par on the front. I made everything on that nine, that kind of saved me today because I hit it terrible," he said.
Lahiri birdied the third, fifth and seventh and moved into a share of the lead before a three-putt bogey on the finishing hole, the ninth, saw him drop to second.
Sitting atop the leaderboard was Jamie Lovemark, who birdied all four par-5s en route to a 6-under 66. Lovemark was 11-under through two rounds at the Sycamore Hills Golf Club course and Lahiri was one shot behind.
Lahiri sounded satisfied as he said, "I am in a good position going into weekend and that where I would have wanted to be yesterday (after first round). But no complaints. I played pretty good today, especially I had a good putting day.
Hopefully I can keep that going through the weekend."
Seven birdies apart, he also made a few nice par saves including once when he had a wet lie on the 16th, when he needed to make a 10 footer for par.
"It helps when you make those 8-10 footer for pars. On a course where you can make a lot of birdies it is important to keep a clean card. As long you make those putts, it keeps you positive and the momentum going. You keep trying to find greens and make as many putts as you can," said the Indian.
On a day when there were steady showers, making the course wet and long, Lahiri was still not bothered about the length of the course.
"I don't think the golf course poses a big threat with length. Yes, the par-5s feel a little longer with everything being wet; especially if you miss the fairway like I did a lot, then the wet roughs were not fun. But it also softens up the green so it is little easier coming into the greens," Lahiri said.
Talking of the rains expected over the weekend and what he planned for the weekend, Lahiri added, "I am headed to the range I need to find more fairways and hit with more confidence off the tees. That's what is lacking. As long as you keep hit fairways, you are going to have chances and it is going to come down to making those 10-footers."
Canada's Brad Fritsch (64) and Korea's D H Lee (68) were 9-under 135 in tied third. Eight players ? including the Tour's leading money winner Patton Kizzire (65) share fifth place at 7-under 137.
Big hitter Lovemark taking advantage of the length of the tees birdied all four par-5. Lovemark has already secured a PGA TOUR card for the upcoming 2015-16 season, but is trying to improve his priority category.
This is the first tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Twenty-five PGA Tour cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards, of which 25 were awarded two weeks ago at the end of the regular schedule.