India’s Anirban Lahiri claimed the first hole-in-one of this year’s Open Championship when he hit his 9-iron tee shot into the hole on the 153-yard par-3 9th hole.
The shot was a carbon copy of the ace Ireland’s Paul McGinley made during the second round of the 1996 Open and it brought a huge cheer from the galleries crowded round the green.
Lahari hails from Bangalore and was introduced to golf by his father, an army officer, at the age of 8.
The Indian is one of 13 Open debutants to make the cut at this year’s Championship. He was part of his country’s amateur team that won the silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games and earlier this season claimed his maiden Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open.
Lahiri’s ace helped him to go to the turn in one under par 33 and to move to one under par for the tournament after 45 holes.
The Indian will not receive a prize for his ace on the ninth and he got nothing substantial when he made another hole-in-one in last year’s Hong Kong Open.
“I made it on the wrong hole,” he said. “They had a BMW on one of the holes and an Omega watch on another but all I got was a bottle of champagne although that was special enough.
Lahiri went on to return a 68 for a two under par aggregate and admits that to date he has far exceeded his own expectations in what his first appearance in the Championship.
“It has been great,” he admitted. “This is a hallowed event for us. You come here and just want to play your best. You want to put up a good performance for yourself and for your country and so far I think I have done justice to that. I’m really very happy.”