Anirban Lahiri would not have been happy leaving for home in Palm Beach at the end of the Sanderson Farms after playing his final round in three-under 69 and finishing a modest T-37 on Sunday in Jackson, Mississippi, US.
Lahiri, who earned his ticket to Sanderson with a Top-10 in Corales Dominican Republic, needed a Top-10 finish to get into the next event, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. He seemed to have a good chance at the halfway stage, before a bruising third round of 5-over 77 ruined the chances.
Yet, Lahiri gave it his all with a 3-undet 69 that began with four birdies in first 10 holes, but again the putts did not fall after that and he also closed with a bogey on 18th for four birdies and one bogey in the final round. It saw him finish T-37 after T-36 at Safeway. and T-6 at Corales.
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, won his first PGA Tour title since the Augusta success, as he closed with a birdie on 18th for 5-under 67 and a total of 19-under to beat the 2015 Sanderson winner, Peter Malnati (63) by one shot. J.T. Poston (70) was third at 16 under.
On the finish this week, a forward-looking Lahiri described it as, “Some progress but a lot of work still to do.”
Talking about the next few weeks, Lahiri said,” The plan is to get back and work hard on the body and mind for next three weeks and start again at Bermuda. I will then probably need to get into Top-10 to get to the Houston Open the following week.” The re-scheduled Masters for 2020 will follow the Houston Open.
On his thoughts for the day, Lahiri said, “The mindset was to reset today. I had a small error in my putting setup yesterday (third round) that I fixed latter on Saturday evening. So the effort was to go really low but had too many putts today that did everything but go in. Sometimes they don’t drop and this was one of those weeks. I have a nice window ahead of me to reflect and clean up on the areas that need work and come back out all guns blazing.”
Lahiri after being 8-under for 36 holes fell to 3-under on third day. In the final round Lahiri found about a third of the fairways and hit just over 50 per cent of the greens in regulation with 10 out of 18. But what him hurt was that he once again missed a few putts in the nine to 15 feet range especially over three of the last four holes.
Lahiri birdied the Par-5 third with a 101-yard approach to nine feet and added a second one on the par-5 fifth. It raised visions of a good finish as he birdied eighth and turned in 3-under. A 28-foot conversion for a fourth birdie on Par-3 10th made It even better, but then the birdies ran out. He also closed with a bogey on 18th, where he two-putted from just over eight feet after chipping well from the rough.
Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan finished as the leading Asian. Pan shot a final round 68 to finish T12, his best finish since a T11 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, 2019. His four-day total of 13-under was also his lowest since the Mayakoba event. Pan missed out on a top-10 after ending his day with a bogey on 18. Sungjae Im (66) finished T-28 and Si Woo Kim (67) was T-37.
A week after falling out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since 2011, Garcia won for the 11th time on the PGA TOUR and the 31st time worldwide, which will bring him back into Top-50.
Garcia has now won PGA TOUR wins in three different decades (2000s, 2010s, 2020s) and he also won in Europe in 1999.
It was a great week for Garcia, who came into this event off missed cuts at Safeway Open and the U.S. Open. Making his debut at Sanderson Farms, Garcia, 40, joined leader in the clubhouse Peter Malnati at 18-under with an eagle at the par-5 14th hole after a 5-wood from 260 yards to 3 feet, 5 inches before securing victory with birdie at the final hole.
The 11th PGA Tour win fetches Garcia 500 FedExCup points and invitations to the Sentry Tournament of Champions, 2021 Masters Tournament, THE PLAYERS Championship and PGA Championship.