India’s Anirban Lahiri will have his father to thank if he continues to dominate the SAIL-SBI Open after posting a three-under-par 69 to hold the second round lead in New Delhi on Thursday.
Lahiri switched to a belly putter after his father’s persistent nagging, in a decision that has paid off so far as he extended his overnight lead by a shot at the Delhi Golf Club.
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat blitzed the tree-lined course with a 64 to move into second place on eight-under-par 136 overall, while India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg are a further shot back in equal third.
However, it was Lahiri, who earned his career breakthrough at the Delhi Golf Club last season, who continued his charge for a second Asian Tour title after another inspired round that was aided by a hot putter in his bag.
“My dad started to harp on me to use the belly putter, because he’s always up at night watching the guys on the PGA Tour playing with the belly putter on television,” Lahiri said. “It got to the point where I just gave in to him and I thought I give it a try. I decided to make the switch to the belly putter in Hong Kong last year. I’ve worked a lot on my techniques with it and so far it’s getting better.
While the 23-year-old may have taken pole position with a two-shot cushion, he knows that the contest is far from over, given the quality of his closest rivals.
“Regardless of how everyone plays or whether I’ve the lead or not, I’m happy with the way I’ve played over the last two days and I’m happy with the way I’m hitting the golf ball,” he said.
Prom continued his resurgence by marking his card with nine birdies and a bogey to record the day’s lowest score of 64.
The Thai, who started the day in tied-45th place following an opening 72, opened strongly with two birdies.
He carded another birdie on the eighth hole before storming home with a birdie blitz on holes 11, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 18.
Taiwanese players taking part were led by Hsu Chia in joint 25th place at two-under-par, followed by Chan Shih-chang (par), Kao Shang-hung (two-over), Chang Tse-peng (three-over) and Lu Tze-shyan (six-over-par).
Additional reporting by staff writer