Lahiri struggles at Hoylake, finishes with first round 75

Hoylake: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri stumbled to a couple of late bogeys to return a disappointing three-over 75 on the opening day of the Open Championships here thursday.

Among the early starters, going off at 7.09 am, Lahiri`s game looked wayward and he missed a good number of fairways especially on the back nine and dropped four bogeys and a double against just three birdies.

Looking and sounding disappointed Lahiri admitted, "It was ideal conditions and I have no excuses. I played pretty poorly especially on holes where there were lots of opportunities. The last four holes are easier holes and coming in, I think I got a bit frustrated that I didn`t make anything happen. It`s a great learning experience."

His `A` game was nowhere in the vicinity and he struggled at various stages, with both his driving and even the putting deserting him.

"I struggled. Honestly, I was no where near where I should be with my game. It would have been nice if I could make a few more putts from inside 10 or 15 feet. It just didn`t fall for me today," said the 27-year-old.

But he did hold out hope and added, "I have to play my best golf tomorrow. I know that. I missed a lot of shots to the right and didn`t find enough fairways. The frustration got the better of me coming in and I`ve got to be careful with that.

"I`ve got to come out tomorrow with more confidence and more positivity. It was quite disappointing as the conditions were good. I just hit a few destructive shots and didn`t find enough fairways. Not what I was looking for obviously."

He is trying to feed off the positive memories of his appearance at Royal Lytham and St. Annes two years ago, where he finished tied 31st and also had a hole-in-one.

"Everyone is really excited. I had a great Open two years ago (where he finished tied 31st at Royal Lytham and St Annes) and everyone back home is cheering me on. Hopefully I can come out tomorrow and give them something to cheer about. I would like to play well for them," said Lahiri.

Lahiri opened with a string of three pars, before he missed his first fairway and dropped a bogey on fourth. He immediately made up with a nice birdie on par-five fifth, but then followed a wobbly path, as he double-bogeyed the seventh.

On the eighth he missed the green and gave away a bogey but a morale-boosting birdie on par-three saw him turn in two-over.

On the back nine, which has three par-fives, he opened with a birdie on the 10th but that was the last birdie he had. He made some good par saves and then gave away a bogey on the 15th and 17th and failed to get birdies on the par-five 16th and 18th. His putter too deserted him at that stage.

Meanwhile, Thailand`s Kiradech Aphibarnrat overcame a mid-round lapse to shoot an even-par 72.

He started his campaign at a sunny Royal Liverpool with early birdies on three and five, but double bogeys on par-four seventh and par-three ninth derailed him. On the back nine he played cleanly with birdies on par-three 13th and par-five 16th to finish at even par.

"I wasn`t striking the ball well, struggling around the greens. Hit two bad chips and made two doubles on the front nine. But overall, I`m happy with the way I`m playing. It`s difficult around the greens as you get tight lies. I`ve also been struggling with my chipping recently. I`ll try to work it out after this," said the burly Thai.

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