Scotland’s Laird wins playoff for PGA Shriners crown

LOS ANGELES: Britain’s Martin Laird sank a 22-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to win his first US Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) title in seven years at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

The 37-year-old Scotsman made a bogey on the 72nd hole to fall into a playoff with Americans Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook but responded by curling in the clutch putt at the par-3 17th hole to capture the title.

Martin Laird lines up a putt on the 18th green during a playoff in the final round of Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament in Las Vegas on Oct. 11, 2020 (October 12 in Manila). AP PHOTO

“It has been a while,” Laird said. “I’ve been working hard. I feel like my game is as good as it has been. Obviously I’m really going to enjoy this one.”

World No. 351 Laird, who has battled through a knee injury to continue his career, took his fourth US PGA title after wins at the 2009 Shriners, Bay Hill in 2011 and the 2013 Texas Open.

“It’s amazing,” Laird said. “I love this place. I’ve played well here. Always enjoy coming back here.

Laird, Cook and Wolff all finished 72 holes on 23-under 261 at TPC of Summerlin in suburban Las Vegas to set up the event’s third playoff in four years, which began with all three parring the 18th hole.

On the second extra hole, Wolff came up short from 38 feet and Cook went long from 25, setting the stage for Laird to become the first winner playing on a sponsor exemption since Wolff last year at Minneapolis.

US Open runner-up Wolff, 21, missed a chance to become the youngest multiple winner on the PGA Tour since Sergio Garcia in 2001.

Clinging to a one-stroke lead in the final round, Laird sent his tee shot right off the cart path at the par-3 17th, trees blocking him from the green and water lurking beyond it.

The Scotsman punched the ball under the trees, between bunkers and onto the green, then curled in an 18-foot par putt for an epic up-and-down. AFP

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