Martin Laird returns to form in California

2014 10 Laird
• Scot finishes tied third in season-opener on PGA Tour
• Laird, 31, had led after 36 holes of Open
• 'There's obviously confidence taken.'
• Sang-Moon Bae takes the title


Scotland’s Martin Laird managed his best finish on the PGA Tour since his 2013 Valero Texas Open victory over the weekend, finishing in a tie for third in the circuit’s season-opening Open.

Laird, 31, had a pair of 71s over the weekend after opening with a brace of 67s to finish on 12-under-par at Silverado Country Club, three shots behind eventual winner Sang-Moon Bae.

That earned the Scot a cheque for $270,600 – almost half the amount he earned in 20 events during a disappointing 2013/14 season, during which he managed just one top ten and only five finishes inside the top 25. Consequently, he finished a lowly 127th on the FedExCup standings, narrowly failing to make the money-spinning end-of-season Playoffs for the first time since 2009.

However, this impressive start to the season has given the three-time PGA Tour winner real belief that he can make up for lost time this year.

“There’s obviously confidence taken,” said the Glasgow man after his final round. “I played poorly yesterday, and really didn't feel like I played great today. I had three three‑putts today and two yesterday, and I'm in third, one shot out of second, so you can only take confidence from that.”
"Some weeks you feel really good about finishing third and some weeks you kind of are frustrated thinking that you could have done better." - Martin Laird

Laird had led the tournament by a shot at the midway stage and admitted that he was disappointed not to close the deal.

“I really liked this golf course,” he added. “I felt like it sat well for me this week. Some weeks you feel really good about finishing third and some weeks you kind of are frustrated thinking that you could have done better, and this was one of those weeks for me.”

Next up for Laird is a trip to Las Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, an event he won in 2009 and lost in a play-off the following year. With his world ranking having slipped as low as 154th this year – having started 2014 in 84th, the Scot will be hoping that returning to a course and event he likes this week will help him climb back into the top 100.

“I like to play aggressive and you've got to play aggressive there because it takes 18, 19, 20‑under to win,” said Laid. “If you drive it good, you can really get the par‑5s there. It generally suits someone that can hit it far and high and fly all of the bunkers, so hopefully I can keep playing like this next week and tidy up a few of the putts and a few loose drives I hit this week, and hopefully I'll have a good week next week.”

Martin Laird :: Can he get back to the top?

Can Martin Laird, boosted by an impressive finish at the Open, return to golf's upper echelons this season? Leave your thoughts in our 'Comments' section below.

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