Atlanta, Georgia, United States: Indian Anirban Lahiri lived dangerously before making the half-way cut right on the mark on his maiden appearance at the Masters Tournament.
The 27-year-old Lahiri, the current Asian Tour number one, saved par on the closing hole at Augusta National to settle for a three-over 75 which got him through into the weekend rounds on two-over-par 146 in tied 50th place.
Unlike his opening round where he was rock solid for a 71, Lahiri scrambled all day, mixing his card with one eagle, two birdies, five bogeys and one double-bogey.
“I got off to a terrible start. I didn’t execute my plan at all. I was not able to focus as well as I would have liked. I think that also kind of happened because I got wrong-footed with a few bogeys early on,” said Lahiri, who won twice on the Asian Tour in February.
“I think I fought back well, but I just hit so many loose shots. It was disappointing to drop so many shots. But I’m happy that I managed to make it through to the weekend.
“You want to play well in the Majors. But you can’t play well in them if you don’t play four days. So, you know, I’ve given myself that opportunity now. If I have a good weekend I can definitely move up.”
Thai Thongchai Jaidee broke par for the first time at Augusta National, a solid 70 helping him to finish the day in tied 33rd place on 145.
Korean Noh Seung-yul, making his debut in the Masters Tournament, featured on the leaderboard early in the second round before signing for a 74 which left him in a share of 29th place while countryman Bae Sang-moon carded a 71 for equal 33rd. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama fired a 70 for a 141 total in tied 12th position, 11 shots behind runaway leader Jordan Spieth.
Lahiri, the world number 34, managed to extricate himself from trouble with some sublime shots. But he knows that he must cut out the errors to move up the leaderboard over the weekend.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I was driving it,” said Lahiri, who found only seven fairways. “I didn’t hit my irons all that bad but I just put myself in very poor positions off the tee. When I did put myself in good positions off the tee, I did well on those holes. I need to do more of that.”
Lahiri had three bogeys in his first six holes, followed by a birdie on the par-five eighth. The back nine was a roller-coaster ride. A bogey on 11 with a three-putt was followed by a stunning eagle off a 25-foot putt on 13. But on the next hole, he gave it away with a double-bogey.
The tenacious Indian fought back with a birdie on 15 but dropped a shot on 16 by missing a seven-foot par attempt, which put him at two-over for the tournament and right on the cut mark.
Needing a par on 18, Lahiri left himself with a tough chip after missing the green but pulled off a fine recovery to safely par from two feet.
“I think 14 really hurt me,” he said. “The eagle on 13, I got a little lucky. I pulled it a bit and didn’t catch the trees and came out to a really good spot. Made a good putt there, finally made one from outside of 10 feet.
“I have to admit I was nervous on the back nine and I made some poor swings. And I didn’t focus as well as I would have liked. I’m going to have to look to improve over the weekend.”