Martin Laird ends long title drought on PGA Tour

Martin Laird Shriners 2020

More than seven years since his most victory, Scotland's Martin Laird is a PGA Tour winner for the fourth time.

The 37-year-old, playing on a sponsor's invite following knee surgery in June, defeated American duo Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

The triumph came at at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, the scene of his first PGA Tour victory in 2009 and, as fate would have it, on the very hole where he was on the wrong side of a piece of golf history the following year.

On that occasion, Jonathan Byrd denied Laird back-to-back victories by virtue of a walk-off hole-in-one on the par-3 17th. 

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There was no such drama this time around. Instead, the former Scottish Youths champion calmly rolled in a 22-foot birdie putt to take the trophy and breathe new life into a career that had stalled somewhat. 

“When I sit back and think about it, this win might go right to the top just because it's been a while,” Laird admitted. “I had a bunch of life changes since my last win. Now I've got a couple kids who kept asking me when I was going to win the trophy. It's going to be nice to take a trophy home for them this time.”

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Laird's win came with a cheque for $1,260,000, moving him ever closer to breaking the $20million mark in PGA Tour career prize money.

More significantly, it moved him from 351st on the world rankings to 88th, overtaking Robert MacIntyre as the top Scot on the OWGR, and secured his PGA Tour playing rights for at least two more two seasons.

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“I'm unbelievably excited to have pulled that off today," added Laird. "You have some doubts at times whether you're going to get another one. I just played so well all week this week tee to green. It was probably the best I ever played. I just felt in control really all week. 

"To see that putt go in on that hole, it was pretty special.”

Laird also produced a strong candidate for the 'Shot of the Year' during the final round. Check out this beauty for eagle from the sand on the par-5 ninth.

"It was almost lying so badly that I said to my buddy, this is lying so badly if I hit this as hard as I want it's not going to go very far,” Laird added.

“Obviously, I wasn't planning on holing it, but I was hopeful of getting inside maybe ten feet if it came out pretty good. I hit it hard as I could. The sand exploded and I couldn't see anything, and I managed to open my eyes up as the ball landed and it started tracking. 

"I enjoyed being down to the level of the bunker and watching that one go in. I'm not going to lie."

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