Struggle on the greens see Lahiri drop down the Sanderson leader board

Anirban Lahiri started the third day well as he holed an eight-footer for birdie on the second hole suggesting a good moving day at the Sanderson Farms Championship, But as things turned out, it was to be his only birdie of the day following a forgettable day on the greens, where time and again he missed inside 6-7 feet and dropped a lot of shots. He finished with 77, equalling his worst round in 2020 at the American Express in January. He tumbled from overnight T-7 to T-52 in Jackson, Mississippi.

With the leader board crowded as it is, Lahiri who was five behind the then-leader Keegan Bradley after the second round, is now 11 behind the new leader Cameron Davis (63), Sergio Garcia and JT Poston (69), who are all 14-under.

For Lahiri, it was a massive reversal of form and fortunes as in terms of statistics on shots gained in putting Lahiri, who had gained 1.89 strokes on the first day, lost 4.41 on the third day.

Yet, he was marginally better in terms of finding the fairways – he found just three on the second day and it was six in the third round and he reached 10 of the 18 greens in regulation.

In his third round at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Anirban Lahiri hit 6 of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation, finishing at 3 under for the tournament. Lahiri finished his day tied for 52nd at 3 under; J.T. Poston, Cameron Davis, and Sergio Garcia are tied for 1st at 14 under;

Among the areas that Lahiri would be concerned about is the Par-5 scoring. He was 2-under for the Par-5s on the first day and then even par for those long holes on second. On the third, he dropped a shot each on two of them on front nine and parred the other two. On the 612-yard Par-5 fifth he reached the green in three and then three-putted from 12 feet for a bogey.

His putting on the pure and fast greens, which was working so well on Thursday had just disappeared. He dropped a 4-footer for par on Par-5 fifth, a six-footer for par on Par-4 eighth and in between missed two other putts of 11 to 13 feet on front nine. On the back nine, he again missed putts inside six feet on 11th, 13th and 15th. His longest putt during the day was eight feet five inches on the second and it fetched him his sole birdie, as he carded a disappointing 77. Lahiri needs a Top-10 finish to get into next week’s Shriners Children’s Hospital Open in Las Vegas.

Lahiri’s third-round playing partner Brandt Snedeker put together a fine back nine with four birdies in his 67 and with Kristoffer Ventura, he was tied for fourth at 13 under. Overnight leader, Keegan Bradley, Denny McCarthy and Aaron Wise are tied for 6th at 12 under.

Garcia, who revealed that he has often been putting with his eyes closed to get a better feel, seems to be doing great as he shot a bogey free 6-under 66 to share the 54-hole lead in his debut at the Country Club of Jackson.

As many as 10 players are separated by four shots, setting up for a tight battle on Sunday.

Davis opened with five straight birdies, and the Australian’s biggest highlight was a second shot to 10 feet for eagle on the par-5 14th hole that carried him to a 9-under 63. He post 14-under 202, and later Garcia and Poston joined him. Poston did reach 15-under but dropped a shot on 16th to fall to 14-under as he saved a par on 18th from the bunker.

As Lahiri fell from being the top Asian, Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan followed his second round 69 with a third round 68 and at 9-under, he rose to T-14, while Kyoung Hoon Lee (70) at 5-under was T-39. Sungjae Im (72) was T-52.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Byeong Hun An,  Xinjun Zhang, Satoshi Kodaira, Sung Kang and KJ Choi had missed the cut.

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