Not even a bogey-bogey finish could take the smile off Martin Laird’s face after he made an impressive start to the US PGA Championship.
The four-time PGA Tour winner carded a two-under 70 to sit just one shot off the early lead at Kiawah Island.
It could have been so much better but for dropped shots at the formidable par-3 17th and the equally tough 18th. However, the Glasgow man was far from disappointed with his day’s work at the second men’s major of 2021.
“You don't often finish bogey-bogey and feel pretty good, but I do,” said Laird. “I played really nice. I think I made seven birdies. Any time you make seven birdies around here, you're playing good.”
The build-up to the championship has been dominated by talk about the Ocean Course and, in particular, its difficulty.
Already the longest course ever to have hosted a major championship, its test has been intensified by windy conditions on the South Carolina coast.
Laird, though, has tried not to pay too much attention to any of that.
“I kind of went out with the mindset this week, even though it's hard, don't give the course too much respect,” added the 38-year-old. "You still have to take on shots when you have the chance. I felt like I did a good job of that. I felt like I didn't bail out.
"When I had a spot where I could go at the flag, I was making sure I kept doing it and hit a lot of really nice shots and managed to make some birdies.
”You're going to hit bogeys on this golf course. It's just too hard not to go in and make a handful of bogeys. It's nice when you can throw in a bunch of birdies too.