Laird fires 63 to win Texas Open and a trip to Augusta|
San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) - Martin Laird matched the course record on
Sunday with his 9-under 63, which helped him come from behind and win the
Texas Open by two strokes.
Laird, who birdied the final three holes, finished his third PGA Tour victory
at 14-under-par 274 at TPC San Antonio.
The Scotsman earned his third straight trip to The Masters. Laird tied for
20th in 2011 and shared 57th last year in his previous trips to Augusta
"Last week in Houston, after I played Thursday, when I didn't hit it well, I
went down to the back of the range and hit balls for about four hours with my
coach. We got something figured out and I went out Friday and hit great, but
missed the cut on the number," said Laird, whose best finish this year before
this was a share of 34th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"I felt good coming in here because I really like this golf course. I've
played well here a couple years ago. I decided to keep playing aggressive with
the way I was hitting hit it. I've putted bad all year, but finally, in the
final round, the putter got hot. I can't believe it."
Rory McIlroy got within one of the lead when he birdied the 14th, but ended
two back at minus-12 after a final-round 66.
Jim Furyk holed out for eagle on the par-5 18th for a 3-under 69. He shared
third place at 11-under with third-round leader Billy Horschel (71) and
Charley Hoffman (69), who birdied six of the last eight holes.
Horschel's slow start opened the door for Laird. Horschel stumbled to a bogey
at the fourth, but bounced back with a 15-foot birdie putt at the sixth. He
remained at 10-under as he parred sixth in a row from the seventh.
Laird was off to a flying start. He birdied the second from five feet out and
made it two in a row as his 14-footer at the third found the bottom of the
The 30-year-old converted back-to-back 4-foot birdie putts at five and six to
join Horschel in the lead at minus-9. Horschel reclaimed the lead with his
birdie at six, but Laird responded with a 7-foot birdie effort at the eighth,
which again gave him a piece of the lead.
After three straight pars, Laird drained a 15-footer for birdie on the 12th to
go one ahead. He parred the next three before a hot closing stretch.
Laird ran home a 17-foot birdie putt to move two clear of a charging McIlroy,
who also birdied the 16th to get back within one. Laird converted a birdie try
from off the green at the 17th to regain a 2-stroke cushion.
At the last, Laird ran home a 15-footer for a closing birdie. He walked off
with a 3-stroke lead over McIlroy.
"I've been asked probably 30 times the last couple weeks, 'Are you in
Augusta?' I've had to say no, and every time I said no, it kind of hurt me a
bit," Laird stated. "That was my major motivation to try to get back in
tournament's like that."
McIlroy needed to hole his second shot at the par-5 18th to force a playoff,
but left that shot 48 feet from the cup. He 2-putted for a closing birdie to
end two behind.
The reigning PGA Champion birdied the second and fifth, but stumbled to a
bogey on the fourth. McIlroy drained consecutive birdies from the eighth, but
he tripped to another bogey at the 10th.
McIlroy birdied the 12th and 14th to get in position, but couldn't overtake
Laird down the stretch.
"Over the last three rounds, especially, eliminating the silly mistakes that I
was making on the course, the mental errors (was good). To finish off this
tournament with a round like today is great going into Augusta," McIlroy
said. "Even though I didn't get the trophy ... I'm really pleased with my
game. I think this has been a great week for me."
Horschel ended his run of pars with a bogey at the 13th. He birdied 15 and 18
to gain a share of third.
NOTES: Laird earned $1.116 million for the win ... Last year, Matt Every shot
63 to set the course record ... This marked the 11th time a player won the
week before The Masters and earned a spot in the field at the year's first
major ... The last to do so was Johnson Wagner, when he won the 2008 Houston
Open ... With the Scotsman's victory, he stopped a streak of 14 straight
Americans winners to start the year, and 16 in a row dating to last year ...
Sweden's Jonas Blixt was the last non-American winner, and that came at last
year's Frys.com Open ... Next week is the season's first major, The Masters,
where Bubba Watson will defend his title.
04/07 19:20:48 ET