Anirban Lahiri opens with 69 as Cantlay leads in California

Anirban Lahiri was off to a flying start with an eagle and a birdie in the first four holes but the Indian golfer couldn’t keep the momentum going as he carded 3-under 69 in the opening round to be T-52nd at the American Express.

Lahiri, who is playing his first event of 2022, managed just one more birdie after the first four holes and also dropped a shot at the La Quinta Country Club here on Thursday.

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He was placed T-52nd at the USD7.6 million PGA TOUR event in which the first three rounds will be played over three courses in California this week.

FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, who finished 2021 with wins at the BMW and Tour Championships, got off to a great start with a 10-under 62 and shared the lead with rookie Lee Hodges.

The two leaders also played at La Quinta.

The Asian challenge was led by K.H. Lee, who was tied for third at 64 at the Stadium Course, alongside Cameron Young, who shot the same score at La Quinta.

The players who opened at La Quinta will play the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday and the adjacent Stadium Course on the weekend.

Lahiri, who has not had much success at the American Express in the last couple of times he has played here, next plays at Nicklaus Tournament Course and then Stadium Course.

The cut will be applied after 54 holes.

The 30-year-old Lee hit 10 birdies en route a sizzling 8-under 64 to share third place as he seeks a second PGA TOUR title.

Defending champion Si Woo Kim opened with a 68 at La Quinta following seven birdies, one bogey and one double bogey, while countryman Seungyul Noh (Stadium Course) and Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan (Nicklaus Course) also returned 68s.

Cantlay played the first seven holes in 7-under, making an eagle on the par-5 sixth and five birdies. He also had birdies on 11, 12 and 13 and closed with five straight pars. Brandt Snedeker with seven others was at 65 in tied-fifth place.

World no. 1 Jon Rahm and Graeme McDowell shot 66 each at La Quinta.

Harry Higgs had a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th at La Quinta in a 66.

Phil Mickelson, the host, was tied for last in the 156-player field after a 78 at La Quinta.

His card included a quintuple-bogey ?nine’ on the par-4 eighth after he twice hit his drives out of bounds on the right.

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