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May 11 2012

8:00 PM

Laird still confident despite finish

Interview: Martin Laird

Following his second-round 73, Martin Laird meets with the media and talks about mistakes he made on his incoming holes.

By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.com

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Martin Laird had the look of a champion after he signed his scorecard at THE PLAYERS Championship Friday afternoon. He was walking confidently. He was in control. And more important, Laird talked like he had already forgotten his last three holes.

Laird, who led for most of the morning in the second round, reached 10 under after a birdie on the 15 thhole at TPC Sawgrass. But instead of taking it deeper into the red, Laird finished bogey-double bogey-bogey for a 1-over 73 that dropped him down the leaderboard with a two-day total of 6-under 138.

He wasn’t concerned at all.

“If there’s ever a day you want to do that, it’s Thursday or Friday and not Sunday,” Laird said. “I’ve just got to take out of it that I just played the last three in 4-over par. I’m obviously playing some pretty good golf leading up to that.”

After a solid start to the season, Laird’s play admittedly cooled off. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, but he missed two of his next five cuts. So he decided to part ways with his longtime caddie and put his friend Shay Knight on the bag.

“It was time for a change, time to freshen up a little bit,” said Laird, who has also been working to improve his putting with Dave Stockton Jr. “Just trying to have more fun out there.”

Laird was having a lot fun Friday, especially before his round turned sour with a mental mistake on the 523-yard par-5 16 th hole. Instead of playing it safe, Laird, his confidence as high as the blue sky, got “a little greedy there” with a 4-iron and his shot found the water. He made bogey.

On the par-3 17 th, Laird’s 9-iron landed short of the island green and in the hazard again. He made an 11-foot putt for a double-bogey 5.
“Yeah, that was a big one,” said Laird, whose best finish at THE PLAYERS in three previous starts is a tie for 69 th place last year. “You don’t want to make a 6 there. … It’s one that I was obviously very happy to see go in.”
Laird went on to bogey the 18 thafter failing to get up-and-down from just off the green. Still, Laird’s confidence remained high.

“You don’t lose that in the space of three holes,” Laird said. “So I’ll be fine [Saturday].”

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