Sport Golf

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Laird's Hawaiian birdie blitz gets Ryder bid off to belated flyer

Mark Garrod


Martin Laird believes he finally has lift-off in his bid for a Ryder Cup debut this year, four months after everybody else started picking up points.

The Scot birdied five of the last seven holes to finish runner-up to Steve Stricker at the PGA Tour's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

While Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and the rest began trying to qualify for Jose Maria Olazabal's side last September, Laird was not eligible until rejoining the European Tour as an affiliate member this month.

The 29-year-old was required to play 13 Tour events last season if he wanted to be in the points race, but chose to concentrate on the American circuit.

Second place at Kapalua was worth 22.8 ranking points and lifted him from 47th to 33rd in the world, but still leaves him only 40th on the Ryder Cup list.

"I've been saying the last month or two I want to get off to a quick start this year and get my name up there in contention for the team," Laird said after losing to Stricker by three strokes on 20-under.

"Coming out here and playing like that has done that for me, but I reckon I need to win at least once, maybe twice, to get on that team on points."

Stricker's victory has lifted him back to fifth in the world and makes him the leading non-European in the rankings.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport