April 7 2013
The winner of the Valero Teas Open is headed to the Masters, only it wasn't the player anyone perhaps expected.
Martin Laird shot a sizzling 9-under 63 Sunday, birdieing his final three holes, to win at TPC San Antonio. The victory is his first in two years and will send the Scot to Augusta National.
In eight starts this season, Laird missed the cut in half of them. In the other half, his best finish was a tie for 34th.
Sunday, however, Laird made nine birdies and no bogeys on a difficult TPC San Antonio course that annually ranks among the toughest on the PGA TOUR.
It is the 11th time a player has won the week before the year's first major to get into the field at the Masters. It also helped keep a streak of major appearances alive for the 30-year-old, who will be playing in his 11th straight major.
The win by Laird also ends a streak of U.S. dominance this season. American players had won the first 14 events of the season.
Rory McIlroy, who added the tournament to his schedule at the last minute in order to get more competitive rounds under his belt, finished second two strokes back after a 66.
It was McIlroy's best result on TOUR since winning last year's BMW Championship.
Billy Horschel, who began the day with a two-shot lead and was bidding for his first Masters appearance, tied for third after a 71 along with Charley Hoffman and Jim Furyk.