Lytham St Annes, (England): It was a historic moment for Indian golf as Anirban Lahiri and Jeev Milkha Singh assured themselves of the cut at the 141st Open Championships at the Royal Lytham & St Annes here on Friday.
Lahiri added a 72 to his first 68 and was even par for 36 holes, while Jeev added a 71 to his first round 70 and was one-over 141 for two days. The cut is likely at two-over.
Lahiri added to his growing reputation as one of the stars in making in the Indian golf as he assured himself of weekend action in his Major debut with a tough two-over 72 to safely make the cut at the Open Championship on Friday.
Lahiri added a 72 to his first 68 and was even par for 36 holes, while Jeev added a 71 to his first round 70.
Jeev, who had a 70 in first round, shot one-over for the second round to be one-over 141 for two rounds and was also assured of the cut.
Jeev has now made the cut in each of the four Majors at least once and this is the first time two Indians have made the cut in the same Major. Lahiri is also the second Indian after Jeev to make the cut in his Major debut. Jeev did so in the US Open in 2002.
Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner, battled with cold conditions at Royal Lytham and St Annes to safely negotiate his way into the final two rounds with a two-day total of even par 140, which left him 10 shots behind clubhouse leader Brandt Snedeker of the United States but just a couple of shots outside the top-10.
"I'm happy. I'm really happy that I'm playing in the weekend. If someone had said even par after two rounds, I would have taken it on Thursday morning. I hung in there. I had to make a few crucial putts and I stuck to my routine. I told myself to go out there and enjoy myself," said the 25-year-old.
"It's been very special (so far). My dad has been walking with me and my manager is here. People that I know walking with me, it's special to have them there. I can't ask for anything more. I'm happy I put in a decent performance for them."
After shooting an opening 68 on Thursday, Lahiri said he did not know what the leading score was as he wanted to focus solely on his mission.
"When we got home last night, dad opened up his laptop but I told him not to tell me what the scores were as I just wanted to keep doing my thing," said Lahiri.
"My dad is a golfoholic. That happens when you're a parent of a professional golfer. My manager and dad were having a beer last night and jibing with each other that they were serial refreshers as they always want to know what the scores are even though they just saw it three seconds ago," he added.
Jeev was happy with the way he finished after dropping bogeys on 11th and 12th. "I stuck to the routine and got the pars on the last six, though I think I would have left a birdie or two out there, but then it is a tough day and conditions are really tough," he said.
Lahiri was especially proud with the way he handled the pressure, especially after he turned in two over with bogeys on five and nine.
"I didn't hit it as well as I would have liked. My putting wasn't as good as yesterday. I probably found two or three bunkers more than I would have liked and today wasn't easy to get out of bunkers. Every bunker had a different texture, some heavier or some lighter. It's tough holding the ball," he said.
"After I made bogey on nine, I was really upset. I made some bad clubbing decision and I seemed to lose my concentration after that. On the par five 11, I hit it to the singular worse spot that you could. But I made a good 10 footer for par and that saved me from losing it.
"I was on the verge of getting angry and I did not get angry. That was very critical as on a course like this, if you lose your temperament you can lose it. I'm glad I managed to keep myself calm," said Lahiri.