Laird hot at John Deere after skipping national open
Opened with 6-under 65 in first start since 2008
July 11, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Martin Laird recorded a 6-under 65 during the first round of the John Deere Classic. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
SILVIS, Ill. – It’s typical of Scotland’s Martin Laird to be playing golf the second week in July, but he’s usually playing in his national open. At 126th in the FedExCup, he opted instead for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run this week.
Laird, who is T111 in Driving Accuracy this year, hit 13 of 14 fairways and made just one bogey as he opened with a 6-under 65. Not a bad start for a guy who hasn’t pegged it in the Quad Cities since he finished T29 in 2008. Laird was tied with Andrew Landry and one behind leader Adam Long after the morning wave.
“I remember my rookie year on TOUR,” said Laird, 36, who is here with his wife, Meagan, and son Jack, 5, and Hannah, 3. “I enjoyed this place, and I played pretty decent, I think. I can't remember but I think I played okay.
“It was just a clash of dates,” he added. “It was hard to turn down going back and playing my national open. Otherwise I would have been here almost every year. This year I made the decision a couple months ago to come here this year instead of going back to Scotland, and obviously after the round today I'm happy with that.”
In the second group out and starting on the back nine, Laird, playing with Sam Ryder (67) and Sam Saunders (68), could easily have gone lower. After a 350-yard drive and a laser-like approach he missed a birdie from just outside 11 feet on his last hole, No. 9. He hit a tree off the tee and missed a six-foot par putt on No. 8.
Laird is a three-time PGA TOUR winner who has finished in the top 125 in the FedExCup in nine of the last 11 seasons. Although he’s 126th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, he said after his round that by watching videotape he pinpointed an issue with his putting, namely that he was moving his head. He took just 28 putts Thursday.
The round comes on the heels of a hot finish at the 3M Open (final-round 65, T42).
“Obviously I'm very aware of it, yeah,” he said of his position just outside the top 125 in the FedExCup. “I've not really been in this position for a little while. It's something different. … I've been knowing for a while that I'm close to having a really, really good week. I'm in a position that I just need one solid good finish and I'll be fine.”