Returning to action after a gap of three weeks, Anirban Lahiri was unable to build on a superb start, finishing with one-over 72 on a blustery morning to lie 77th after the first round of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, United States on Friday.
Lahiri, who has been struggling this season with just one Top-10 in 11 starts, began well when he sank a 20-footer for birdie on the first hole.
The Indian then hit good second and third shots on the par-5 second to get with 27 inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie and go two-under in two. Thereafter his play was patchy, as he hit only eight of the 18 greens in regulation.
On the par-5 fifth, he hit his tee shot into the fairway bunker, followed by getting into another fairway bunker. He hit his fourth shot to the green and two-putted for a bogey.
Lahiri went into the water on seventh and after a drop, he hit to eighth feet for a bogey, thus wiping out both his early birdies.
On the Par-4 473 yard eighth, Lahiri went to right rough but got to eight feet with his third shot, but he missed the par putt. He turned in one-over.
On the back nine, he had three birdies and on two occasions he gave back those gains on the very next hole. A third bogey on 17th was made up with a birdie on 18th.
Lahiri had some success with long putts, including a nearly 40-footer on 18th after a 23-foot birdie on 14th. But he missed short seven and eight footer on 15th and 17th.
At the top, Shane Lowry showed that he is indeed in form as he fired six-under 65 to take the lead, while Ryan Palmer, Luke List, Daniel Berger, Trey Mullinax, and Ryan Moore are all tied for second at 5-under.
Rory Sabbatini, Sam Burns, Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel, Scott Piercy, Kevin Na, Peter Malnati, and Alex Noren are tied for seventh at 4 under.
Lowry is armed with a new putter and a new driver this week and it seemed to work. The Irishman started the year off on a strong note with a win in Abu Dhabi in the season-opener on the European Tour. But he was not able to build on that momentum.
Lowry had not broken 70 in four stroke-play events on the PGA TOUR since he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February. But he shot 65 on a blustery morning at Harbour Town Golf Links.
The second afternoon is expected to be a challenge with winds of 20-30 mph, gusting to 40 and severe thunderstorms are possible.