Lahiri leads the way

8/30/2012 12:18:45 PM
Anirban Lahiri  (Getty Images)
Anirban Lahiri (Getty Images)
India’s Anirban Lahiri shared the clubhouse lead following a faultless 66 on day one of the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Lahiri, the world number 217, is an emerging star on The Asian Tour, with whom this week’s tournament is co-sanctioned.

After starting at the tenth, the 25 year old fired four birdies on his outward nine before picking up another shot at the first and parring home.

His score of five under was matched by Robert Coles and Rhys Davies.

A buoyant Lahiru admits he may have benefited from a favourable draw, having experienced the best of the weather today.

“The conditions were good early morning when we started but it just kept getting worse and worse,” he said.

“I managed to hang in there and not drop a shot. I've come into this event not in the best of form and attitude but this year it has been a lot different. I'm very focused and confident.

“It's scheduled for more rain tomorrow morning and I think I got lucky with the draw that I'm playing in the afternoon tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.”

Coles turned in 33 with the aid of an eagle two at the seventh and then recorded three straight birdies from the 12th before conceding the outright lead with a bogey at 18.

A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, the Englishman turns 40 on Sunday and admits victory would represent the perfect birthday present.

“To win any tournament would be great, but to win it on my birthday would be extra special,” he said.

“Although maybe they’ll call it off on Saturday and we only play 54 holes; I could still win it as a 39 year old!

“I'm hungrier than ever, because recently I've had chances to win, and I've started to believe that I can do it out here. Maybe earlier in my career I didn't truly believe I could win, but that's changed. I'm probably hungrier now than I was in my twenties.”

Davies eagled the par five first and, after mixing two dropped shots with gains at the sixth and seventh, finished superbly with three birdies in his last five holes.

Referring to his opening three, he said: “It was a great start to the day, and a great way to finish with a birdie.

“The course really rewards controlled shotmaking, especially with your irons. If you can control your distance and your short irons in particular, that's the key to success out there.”

Veteran Austrian Markus Brier, one of the first players out this morning, was a shot behind the leaders on four under despite double bogeying the par three 16th.

Alongside him were Swedes Niclas Fasth, a player without a top ten finish in 2012, and Johan Edfors, together with Sam Little of England.

Fasth’s round contained seven birdies and three bogeys, yet even that seemed uneventful compared to the incident-packed 69 carded by Fabrizio Zanotti.

The Paraguayan’s front nine featured six birdies, a triple bogey seven at the fifth and a dropped shot at the ninth.

He went on to register three further bogeys, a seventh birdie and an eagle in a round containing only five pars.