India’s Anirban Lahiri had a mixed outing with a three-under 69 card that put him at a modest tied 20th spot at the end of the first round of the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges golf tournament, the first PGA TOUR event staged in South Korea.
Meanwhile, Justin Thomas, who had a modest week in Kuala Lumpur, landed two eagles in his nine-under 63.
Thomas led the field by three as five players, Chev Reazie, Gavin Green, Scott Brown, Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed carded six-under 66 each.
Lahiri opened the day with a bogey on 10th, but got that shot back with a birdie on 14th. The rest were pars as he turned in even par. Birdies on first, third and 17th gave him a fair start of three-under.
“It was a good three-under I would say. I got off to a bad start, bogeyed the 10th. It was a mix bag. There was a lot of wayward drivers. There were some good shots mixed with some bad shots. It’s just one of those rounds, where I didn’t get any momentum going.
“I did struggle a little bit with my wedges, especially with the fairways. They are very new, they’ve just been put in use so,” said Lahiri.
“I just didn’t swing it very well with my wedges. That’s the key out here. If you can hit your approach shots close when you have the wedge in your hand, you are going to make a lot of birdies,” he added.
As for scoring on the par-5, where he had just one birdie, Lahiri said, “I think (par-5) 12th is definitely reachable. I hit a wayward drive on 12th. I was in the rough again on 18. The (Par-5) 18th hole is a bit of a tricky hole for me. I missed the fairway again, which led to par. On (Par-5) 9, I hit the fairway but did not hit a very good wedge.
“Just started getting a little bit cooler towards the end so, the ball was travelling a little differently. I think I am happy (with 3-under) because, I feel I have played quite poorly today. I think like my overall game was not good at all.”
Thomas started with a bogey at 10 but made amends with eagles on the par-5 12th and 18th holes and four straight birdies from number 14 to 17 to turn in 29. He had three more birdies and a bogey that gave him a three-stroke cushion towards the end of the round.
Green, leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, had a promising start with 66 as he was placed in a big crowd of five in second. Green is in the field as one of the top two from Asian Tour Merit list.
Jason Day and fellow Australian Rod Pampling were at four-under, one stroke ahead of Pat Perez, who was coming off a victory at last week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Adam Scott was an even after an opening round containing four birdies and four bogeys.