Good to be back: Laird returns with opening 67


NAPA, Calif. – While the offseason may have been a blur for many of the players in the field this week at the Open, Martin Laird was eager to get back to competition.

The Scot netted top-15 finishes in each of his final two starts last season, but missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs. As a result, Laird hasn’t hit a meaningful shot since a T-14 finish at the Wyndham Championship in August.

The layoff proved no issue, though, as he opened with a bogey-free 67 at Silverado Resort & Spa to sit alone in third place, one shot behind co-leaders Andres Gonzales and Sang-Moon Bae after the first round. Open: Articles, videos and photos

“Great way to start the new season,” he said. “I’ve been playing well at home, but that’s home. It’s a lot different when you get out here.”

Despite missing the postseason, Laird is fully exempt for 2014-15 by virtue of his win at the 2013 Valero Texas Open. With seven weeks off in between competitive starts, the 31-year-old spent some of his break with the clubs tucked far from view, although he was not entirely away from the game.

“I watched a lot of golf. I don’t normally watch golf,” Laird said. “It kind of made me hungry to get out this year and get off to a good start and make sure I’m not sitting around watching golf come the FedEx Cup next year.”