Laird hangs on as Levin stumbles
Martin Laird’s putting was keeping him on top of the leaderboard in the Sunday’s early stages of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Martin Laird’s solid putting was keeping him at the top of the leaderboard in the early stages of the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational today.
The Scot stayed in front despite an uncertain start with David Toms and Steve Marino emerging as his main challengers as Laird’s playing partner Spencer Levin’s game began to disintegrate.
Laird, sporting his country’s national colours of navy and white with his sponsors’ stripes boldly forming the number one on his back, hit a disappointing first tee shot into a bunker – followed almost to the tee by Levin.
Both recovered to find the green, Laird making par but Levin dropping a shot after missing from four feet.
Laird holed a 15-footer for par at the second but went through the green at the next and dropped a shot – as did Levin, after horribly duffing his pitch.
Another 15-foot effort from the fringe saved Laird’s par at the fifth as Levin missed again from four feet to drop further back.
By that point, the young American had fallen into a tie for eighth place, leaving Toms to lead the chase after birdies at the fourth and fifth took him to eight under and just one behind Laird after the leader uncharacteristically three-putted the par-three seventh.
Marino joined Toms on that mark with a birdie at the par-five sixth, having been hugely unlucky to see his birdie putt at the third lip out.
Marc Leishman and Trevor Immelman followed at six under through seven bholes, with Bubba Watson on the same score having played a hole less.
England’s Justin Rose made a late surge up the standings after holing a superb 25-foot eagle putt at the 12th. Rose had bogey fives at the first and fifth holes, offset by a birdie at the fourth but birdied 10 before the eagle took him to four under, just one behind the stumbling Levin.
Compatriot Ian Poulter finished two under after his third 71 of the week, the stylish Englishman having birdied six and eight but given those shots back at the next two holes before a birdie at 12 left him one under for his round.
Tiger Woods finished his participation at Bay Hill on a disappointing note.
The world number five was solid for much of his final round as he birdied the par-five fourth in a front nine otherwise composed of par golf, and added another birdie at the first hole following the turn.
He picked up another at the long 16th but bogeyed 17 and found water in front of the final green as a closing double-bogey meant he finished on his overnight one under par.
“I hit three water balls this week and made a few missed putts here and there, but I’m not that far behind.
“It was a very good week and a week I needed to see, just unfortunately a very disappointing finish.”
Sam Saunders, the grandson of the golfing legend whose name the event bears, was level par for the round and the tournament after three birdies and three bogeys.
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