Golf

Martin Laird redeems himself in playoff to win at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Martin Laird appeared like a winner with an unbelievable par save on the 71st gap of the Shriners Hospitals for Youngsters Open, over the cart path, underneath the timber, between a pair of bunkers and an 18-foot putt.

He needed to return to the par-3 17th in a three-man playoff to complete the job with a birdie. Laird ended seven years with out a victory Sunday when he made bogey from the golf green on the ultimate gap on the TPC Summerlin, after which redeemed himself with a birdie putt from simply exterior 20 ft on the second additional gap to beat Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook.

“It has been some time since my final one, and you’ve got some doubts at instances whether or not you are going to get one other one,” Laird mentioned. “I simply performed so properly all week. This week, tee to inexperienced, was most likely the very best I ever performed. To see that putt go in, it was fairly particular.”

It was the third time Laird has been in a playoff in Las Vegas, all of them involving three gamers. He gained in 2009 for his first PGA Tour victory. He misplaced the next yr on the 17th when Jonathan Byrd made a hole-in-one in darkness.

What made this particular is Laird wasn’t even certain he can be taking part in. Whereas preparing for golf’s return from the COVID-19 pandemic, he torn the meniscus in his left knee and had surgical procedure, sitting out the remainder of the season. He nonetheless had standing that carried over due to the shutdown, however fell thus far down the listing that he wanted as sponsor exemption for Las Vegas. After which he made it repay.

“Typically you come again and simply wish to be taking part in nice straight away. I knew it will be a course of,” Laird mentioned. “I knew it was trending the fitting route and I used to be coming to a course I really like. However I wasn’t getting forward of myself, pondering I used to be going to return again and win as quickly as I did. Simply makes it that a lot sweeter.”

He was No. 351 on the planet, the third winner within the final 4 common PGA Tour occasions to be ranked exterior the highest 300. Laird wanted a pair of top-10 finishes in opposite-field occasions on the finish of the 2019 season simply to maintain his card. Now the 37-year-old Scot is exempt by the 2023 season, and he is headed again to the Masters in April.

The bogey on the 18th gap in regulation gave Laird a 68 to fall right into a playoff at 23-under 261 with Wolff and Prepare dinner, who every closed with a 66.

Laird appeared to have all the things going his means when he caught a buried lie close to the lip of a bunker whereas dealing with a entrance pin on the par-5 ninth. He blasted away, turned his head and appeared again to see the very good shot trickle into the cup for eagle. He performed the opening in 7 underneath for the week. It gave him a three-shot lead heading to the again 9. However he could not maintain it.

Prepare dinner by no means actually went away, closing inside one shot with a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th and burning the sting of the cup on his birdie try on the closing gap. Wolff was by no means distant and arrived in a strong burst with a two-putt birdie on the reachable par-4 15th, blasting a 375-yard drive on the par-5 16th and stuffing wedge to 10 ft for eagle. Laird wobbled a bit down the stretch, however he delivered the winner on the finish.

Patrick Cantlay, who shared the 54-hole lead with Laird, was the largest shock of the day. Cantlay gained the match in 2017 and was runner-up every of the final two years. Fourteen of his 15 rounds on the TPC Summerlin had been underneath par. He opened with 4 bogeys in six holes and did not make birdie till the 13th, closing with a 73.

U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau closed with a 66, and that was the worst he may have executed. With a serving to wind, he performed the par 5s on the again 9 in 1 over. He additionally bogeyed the final from a bunker. He tied for eighth in his first look since turning into a significant champion at Winged Foot, and he now goes again to the lab — or the fitness center, in his case — for the subsequent month earlier than resurfacing on the Masters.

Abraham Ancer birdied the final two holes for a 67 to complete alone in fourth. Will Zalatoris closed with a 69 for a three-way tie for fifth, leaving him simply in need of sufficient FedEx Cup factors to earn particular momentary membership on the PGA Tour. His subsequent likelihood is in three weeks in Bermuda.

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