US PGA: Martin Laird in contention despite sloppy finish

Martin Laird

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.

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“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.

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“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.

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