September 18, 2014 / 2:18 PM / 5 years ago

Birdie binge sends Indian Lahiri top of the leaderboard

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri fired 10 birdies to race to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the Asian Tour’s Selangor Masters in the Malaysian capital on Thursday.

Anirban Lahiri of India watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The 27-year-old signed off on a seven-under-par 64 to sit two shots clear of compatriot S.S.P. Chowrasia and Taiwan’s Chan Yih-shin at the 1.3 million Malaysian Ringgit ($400,000) event.

“I’m really happy with how I played. I got off to a good start and made a couple of good putts. It could have been even better. I missed some short putts but I hit it really good,” said Lahiri, who is looking for his second win of the season and fifth on the Asian Tour.

“I have a lot of positive energy coming into this week, having finished second here last year. It tells you that you can do it. I’ve figured out how to play on this golf course so it helps when you’ve played here a few times.”

Lahiri is second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit behind American David Lipsky, who holds a lead of over $300,000 after his victory at the far more lucrative co-sanctioned Omega European Masters in Switzerland earlier this month.

Lipsky could only manage a 72 in Malaysia on Thursday, though, giving Lahiri hope of eating into that deficit.

Taiwanese Chan is just hopeful of making enough money to retain his card after he missed 10 of 19 cuts last season to lose some playing privileges.

But a hot putter helped him record his best round since winning the 2011 Macau Open, one of only two wins the 37-year-old has managed on the Asian Tour.

“Last year, I didn’t play very well on Tour and lost my Tour card which was disappointing,” he said.

“This is only my third tournament of the season, so hopefully I can find some good form for the rest of the week.”

(1 US dollar = 3.2300 Malaysian ringgit)

Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Alan Baldwin

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