Consistency for Anirban Lahiri is linked intrinsically to the saying: “You can’t always be playing well when it counts. You’ll never win tournaments unless you learn to score well when you’re playing badly.” Though he rarely put a foot wrong at the Jaypee Greens, the 22-year-old took pride while talking about a newfound ability. “Though difficult to maintain, consistency in sports stems from the ability to pull oneself out of situations. I am learning how to do it, given my level of confidence and the experience (he was referring to the top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour).”
The words didn’t appear to be in sync with the situation, given that Lahiri had a share of the lead after Day One of the BILT Open, but by saying so, he spelt out the road to be traversed in case the script changed over the next three days.
It was an ideal start for the Bangalore-based player as he recorded a hattrick of birdies after teeing off from the 1st. He upped the tempo after making the turn and picked up another five strokes. The round could well have been blemish-free but for dropped strokes on the 14th and final hole. The bogey on the 18th may have caused some unrest with Lahiri “getting a bad drive after being unsighted”, but the six-under 66 was immensely satisfying. “Though I did not make a lot of putts, the putting was up there and that’s a positive to take forth,” he said.
The course too was a source of joy. “Jaypee is known for its grainy greens but a lot of work has gone in and they (greens) are playing well,” he said.
For someone who’s been knocking on the door with his steady finishes on the domestic circuit, it was only appropriate that Vikrant Chopra gave Lahiri company atop the leaderboard. One of the last tee up in the afternoon, the Noida golfer, armed with seven top-10s in 12 starts on the Professional Golf Tour of India, used his sky diving skills to good use by working his way by virtue of the bogey-free round.
The openness of the course may have had many rushing in headlong, but Chopra was not one to be tempted. “I played sensibly and didn’t just go for it.”