Laird rebounds quickly after Barclays close call

Martin Laird

PARAMUS, N.J. – Martin Laird will live and learn from his close call at The Barclays.

His 3-putt from inside 25 feet on the final hole forced a playoff and cost him his second Tour title.

“To be honest,” he said after the round, “I thought I would be a lot more gutted than I am right now.”

Laird’s first putt cruised 7 feet past the hole. As he stalked his putt for the win, he ransacked his memory bank of previous clutch putts, which include holing an 8-footer to finish No. 125 and keep his Tour card in 2008 and a 10-footer to win a playoff at the 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Open.

“I said to myself, ‘You’ve done this before, you can do it again,’ ” Laird said. “I hit it where I wanted to. I would probably be pretty frustrated right now if I had hit a poor putt or pushed or pulled it. I just misread it. I don’t know if it bounced or anything but it definitely didn’t break and I just hit it outside the hole on the right.”

Still, Laird was proud of how he battled all day. He hit pinpoint irons that led to three kick-in birdies. He holed several crucial par putts. He didn’t crack when it seemed like his round could get away from him on the front nine.

Improving to No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings is more than small consolation. It secures him a spot in all four majors (top-30 on the final FedEx Cup standings qualify). For the first time, he will have the luxury to shape his schedule to his liking. At 27, Laird seems poised for a breakthrough. His golf instructor, Mark McCann, said Laird is a streaky player who will take a lot of confidence into the rest of the FedEx Cup.

“He can win in the next two or three weeks,” McCann said. “Then we’ll drink vodka. Now we can just drink beer.”

In the meantime, Laird had plans of his own to put his three-putt behind him. He and his fiancé had tickets to attend the night session at the first day of the U.S. Open tennis. Not a bad way to forget about what might have been.

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