Laird eyes second Vegas jackpot

Scotland’s Martin Laird is hoping to hit the jackpot for the second time in Las Vegas this weekend.

Scotland’s Martin Laird is hoping to hit the jackpot for the second time in Las Vegas this weekend.

This in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open which he won at Las Vegas’s TPC Summerlin in 2009 and where he was only denied a successful defence of his title last year when Jonathan Byrd shot a hole-in-one at the fourth extra hole of the three-man play-off.

This month Laird missed out on playing in the FedEx Cup’s elite 30-man Tour Championship finale after cruelly finding himself in 31st place after the BMW Championship, but he is hoping that the good form that earned him 12th place at the BMW along with the confidence booster he will get in knowing that he has shot a combined 40-under in his last two tournaments here at TPC Summerlin will make him a hot contender for the Timberlake title this year.

Ironically with everything he has got going for him in Las Vegas, Laird had a difficult decision to make before coming here, for it meant that the 28-year-old Glasgow native had to give a miss to the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship being staged at three courses in Scotland this week.

Laird finished fifth in this event last year thanks to a closing round of 67 at St Andrews and enjoys links golf.

“The only reason I’m not coming back for the Dunhill this year, unfortunately, is that it falls opposite the tournament in Las Vegas,” Laird said.

“But I hope to be back next year to play.”

With the FedEx Cup over for the year and most of the PGA Tour’s big guns beginning their winter break, US attention will now focus on the ‘Fall Series’ and the battle of the lesser mortals of the PGA Tour to retain their playing cards.

The top 125 on the US Money List after the four Fall Series events will earn their cards for 2012 and Laird can offer great hope to those struggling outside the qualifying bubble

In 2009, Laird was 134th in the standings before winning in Vegas, earning a two-year Tour exemption and moving up to 62nd on the money list, and there are several other examples of players striking it lucky in the gambling capital of the United States.

In 2008 Marc Turnesa came to Las Vegas 138th on the money list and a 500-1 outsider, but went on to win the title, while Troy Matteson was 143rd in 2006 before his win.

World number 11 Nick Watney is the favourite to claim his fifth Tour title and third of 2011, having finished joint sixth at TPC Summerlin last year.