Lahiri starts with solid 68, Rahm leads in Mexico Open

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri got off to a fine start despite a late bogey in the first round of the USD 7.3 million Mexico Open.

Lahiri, looking to cement his place for the season-ending FedExCup play-offs, shot three-under 68 with four birdies against one bogey after starting from the tenth tee. India’s other player in the field, Arjun Atwal, who last week returned to competition in New Orleans after a long break, shot two-over 73 after starting the round with a double bogey on the 10th.

Spaniard Jon Rahm, the top draw this week, chipped-in for a birdie and made a late eagle putt for a 7-under 64 and be a part of a six-way share of the lead. Jonathan Byrd, Brendon Todd, Trey Mullinax and Monday qualifier Bryson Nimmer, who played his final five holes in 5 under, were also at 64 from the morning wave. Nimmer also holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. Kurt Kitayama handled the stronger afternoon wind to join the leaders at 64 with nine birdies.

Lahiri looking forward to Mexico Open, Atwal to feature as well

Lahiri, runner-up at the PLAYERS this year, hit 14 of the 18 greens in regulation during his first round. Opening on the 10th, he got his first birdie on the long 637-yard par-5 12th, where he chipped his third shot to six feet and holed it.

On the 459-yard par-4 15th hole, Lahiri reached the green in two and putted from 17-feet to get to 2-under.

He added a third birdied on the 415-yard par-4 first hole after a drive to the right side of the fairway. His approach from 91 yards set him up for the birdie and moved to 3-under. On the 498-yard par-4 second, Lahiri reached the green in two and sunk a 19-foot birdie putt to move to 4-under.

However on the 496-yard par-4 eighth, Lahiri chipped his third shot to eight feet but missed a par putt and gave away his only bogey of the day.

A highlight of the day was an ace from Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who sank his career first PGA TOUR hole-in-one on the 189 yard par-3 fifth hole with a 5-Iron on way to a 70.

Kiradech is chasing a maiden PGA TOUR victory after coming in T-3 at the WGC-Mexico Championship three years ago.

Aaron Rai, Aaron Wise, Sahith Theegala and Scott Brown were at 65.

Rai and Theegala could use top finishes this week to move up in PGA Championship points and try to secure a spot at Southern Hills in three weeks.

Next week is the final event for players to qualify in points, which is PGA TOUR earnings.

Chinese Taipei star C.T. Pan continued his pursuit for a second PGA TOUR victory after producing a solid 5-under 66 to lie two shots off the pace.

Pan, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, sank six birdies against a lone bogey for a 66. Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira birdied his final hole for a 67 while Sung Kang of Korea shot 68s.

The Mexico Open is part of the PGA TOUR schedule and inherits the history of a national open that dates to 1944.

It takes the place of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship that was at Chapultepec in Mexico City for four years through 2020.

Amandeep Drall shares first-round lead with Maja Stark

Indian golfer Amandeep Drall fired a sizzling four-under 68 to take a share of the first-round lead at the Women’s NSW Open here.

Drall, who teed off in the afternoon groups, rolled in six birdies and two bogeys to be alongside Sweden’s Maja Stark at the top of the leader board.

Among other Indians, Vani Kapoor was T-17 with an even par 72 for first day. She had three birdies and three bogeys.

Ridhima Dilawari, best Indian last week, and Neha Tripathi trailed in T-65 with rounds of 76 each.

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