Disappointment for Lahiri after blown lead at CIMB


A plum opportunity to record his first PGA Tour win didn't go as planned for Anirban Lahiri at the CIMB Classic.

Lahiri started the final round in Malaysia with a four-shot lead, but he surrendered that advantage in one fell swoop with a quadruple bogey on the third hole. While he attempted to rally back from his early deficit, the Indian ended up in a tie for third, four shots behind Justin Thomas after closing with an even-par 72.

"I fought back as best I could, but I just couldn't get the putts to fall on the back nine," Lahiri told reporters. "Just didn't get the numbers right with my wedges. I didn't hit them close. It's very disappointing. I would have obviously liked to have gotten over the line, but it's a tough pill to swallow."

Lahiri won twice last year on the European Tour, reaching as high as No. 34 in the world rankings. The success allowed Lahiri to make his Masters debut this past April, and he participated in the Olympics in August. But the year largely hasn't gone as planned for the 29-year-old, whose runner-up last week at the Venetian Macau Open was his first worldwide top-20 since May.

Lahiri entered this week ranked 83rd, and he appeared poised to win again on a course where he captured the Malaysian Open last year. But his tee shot on the par-5 third ended up lodged in a palm tree, allowing Thomas to take a lead he would not relinquish.

The T-3 finish will go a long way toward cementing Lahiri's PGA Tour status for the 2017-18 season, but his goals were admittedly higher entering the final round.

"I have the confidence. It's not like I need additional confidence, but I need validation now," he said. "I need validation in terms of my game. I need to see that happen. It's just not happened enough, and it's been a year of near-misses for me."