NAPA, Calif. – As the Europeans celebrated a Ryder Cup win in his native land last month, Martin Laird watched from the couch at his home in Scottsdale, thousands of miles from the fairways and greens of Gleneagles.
His play through two rounds of the Frys.com Open shows that the Scot is eager to join the festivities the next time around.
Laird carded a second consecutive 5-under 67 at Silverado Resort & Spa on Friday, and at 10 under he holds the lead at the halfway point as he looks to win on the PGA Tour for the fourth time. While this week’s venue is largely unknown to the field, for Laird it was love at first sight.
“When I played on Tuesday, I liked the golf course right away,” he said. “With the course not being the longest golf course to play, there’s some tight pins on the front of greens that some guys just can’t get to if you don’t hit it high. And you know, I hit it high.”
Laird missed out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs after a disappointing 2013-14 season, but he returned to swing coach Mark McCann in July after a nearly two-year split. The reunion paid immediate dividends, as Laird tied for sixth at the Barracuda Championship and finished T-14 at the Wyndham Championship.
“There was a couple little bad habits,” Laird said. “Just started working on some things we used to work on, and right away saw results, started to turn around. And then kind of kept that going.”
Despite a seven-week layoff, Laird has brought that momentum with him to northern California, where he has made only one bogey through 36 holes. He spent part of his time off watching the Ryder Cup, and the Glasgow native admitted to having mixed emotions watching his fellow Europeans claim the trophy at Gleneagles.
“It was bittersweet in terms of I would have liked to have been there in Scotland, but that’s OK with me,” he said. “It was just fun to watch a Ryder Cup in Scotland, and how much the crowds and everyone got into it.”