Laird makes a flying start to 2010
Martin Laird got off to a flying start on the the 2010 PGA Tour on Thursday – then targeted the Ryder Cup.
Scotland’s Martin Laird got his PGA Tour season off to a flying start in Hawaii on Thursday – then immediately targeted a place in the European Ryder Cup team to play the United States in 10 months time.
Laird ended the opening day a shot behind first-round leader Lucas Glover at the SBS Championship at the Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course in a 28-player, season-opening field restricted to last year’s US Tour event winners.
The Glaswegian, who landed his maiden professional victory at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas last October, sank seven birdies and one bogey on the par-73, 7,411-yard course for a six-under-par 67.
Laird, who turned 28 nine days ago, has played his entire career in the United States having turned professional in 2004 after graduating from Colorado State University and he admitted he had not met 2010 Ryder Cup captain and fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie.
He does, however, intend to put that right ahead of this October’s matches against the USA at Celtic Manor in south Wales.
“I’ve never met Monty but hopefully I will get to know him pretty well this year and really well in Wales in September,” Laird told the Golf Channel following his opening round in Hawaii.
The Scot admitted he also has dreams of playing St Andrews this summer as The Open Championship marks its 150th anniversary there.
“If there’s ever a tournament I want to qualify for it’s the Open and especially at St Andrews,” he said.
“My parents now live 15 minutes from St Andrews so in a big week I could stay at home.
“Every time I go to St Andrews I get a chill down my spine. It’s a real special place, I played it when I went back in September and I’d love to be there in the summer.”
Having been the first player to tee off at Kapalua, Laird watched his score matched as the day progressed, being joined in the clubhouse on six under by Australian Nathan Green soon after.
American Matt Kuchar followed suit and US Open champion Glover, one of the four major winners playing this week, was on the same mark until he birdied the last to take the outright lead with an opening 66.
Americans Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson made it a five-way tie for second alongside Laird, Green and Kuchar, with Open champion Stewart Cink, Masters winner Angel Cabrera and US duo Sean O’Hair and John Rollins all on five under following 68s.
Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia was one shot behind after a 69 that left him in a tie for 11th with Americans Ryan Moore and Jerry Kelly.
Paul Casey, the world number seven, opened his season after missing much of late 2009 with a rib injury by shooting a three under 70 featuring seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
His second bogey of the day came at the par-four 17th but Casey made amends with a finishing birdie at the par-five 18th to join South Africans Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini, world number 10 Kenny Perry and US PGA champion Y E Yang in a tie for 14th.
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