Anirban Lahiri, making his second straight Olympics appearance after Rio 2016, provided some cheer for India on the opening day of golf competition in Tokyo when he posted a solid first round score of four-under 67 for a share of eighth position. Udayan Mane, his compatriot, however struggled to a 76 to end the day in 60th position.
Aditi Ashok, the third Indian golfer in the fray, will be participating in the women’s event from August 4-7.
Lahiri, a PGA Tour cardholder, dropped an opening bogey before finding his stride with a run of four birdies over five holes to make the turn in 33. He sank two more birdies on the 15th and 16th holes against a second bogey at a weather-hit Kasumigaseki Country Club.
“It was good. I think I started off a little dodgy the first few holes, couldn’t get my rhythm going early. But then I settled down nicely. I think I played pretty good,” Lahiri was quoted by the International Golf Federation in a release on Thursday.
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“I probably feel like I could have taken some more chances, some opportunities on the back nine I didn’t make as many birdies as I could have. But I’m playing well, so I have to build on this and as you can see already there’s a lot of opportunities if it keeps playing like this, soft, there’s not much rain today, then you have to go out there and just really be aggressive and make a lot of putts”, said Lahiri.
“I truly feel like a veteran now, because there’s pretty much nothing that I haven’t played that there is to play,” said Lahiri, who has been on the PGA Tour since 2016.
“So to that extent I felt surprisingly calm and relaxed and focused on what I needed to do. So really not that much different, which is a great sign for me because I want to be able to play with that attitude through the week and play my best.”
“I got a full 36 (holes) in, nine every day the four days leading up to the event, so I felt pretty comfortable on the golf course,” he said.
“Obviously the tournament set-up’s going to be a little different but I feel like it wasn’t as hard as they could make it. So to that extent it was pretty gettable today. I think in the lead up to the last few days, it’s been much more windy, today we barely had any wind, so a good day to go out and take advantage. The greens are beautiful, they’re perfect, they’re rolling great, golf course is immaculate. So, yeah, I mean, I’m satisfied, I would have liked to be a couple shots better, closer, but three more days to go,” Lahiri told the IGF.