8am Round-Up: Martin Laird putts his way into contention in Phoenix

Martin Laird acknowledges the crowd on his way to a flawless 66 in the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Picture: Getty Images

Martin Laird acknowledges the crowd on his way to a flawless 66 in the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Picture: Getty Images

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Martin Laird putted his way into contention at the halfway stage as compatriot Russell Knox suffered a rare missed cut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Laird, who has recorded two top 10s already on the PGA Tour’s current wraparound schedule, rolled in putts totalling more than 130 feet as he followed up an opening 67 with a second-round 66 at TPC Scottsdale.

On nine-under-par, the 35-year is sitting joint-third, one shot behind the leaders, Korean Ben An (66) and American Brendan Steele (67).

Laird, a three-time PGA Tour winner, birdied third, eighth, ninth, 15th and 17th in a bogey-free effort as he continued to show promising form.

His only blip so far this season was making a 54-hole exit in Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego last week.

“It was a clean card in terms of bogeys, but my golf game wasn’t very clean,” said the Milnagvie man. “I struggled a little bit with my irons all day, but my putting was probably the best I’ve putted in a long time.”

“I made a lot of nice saves when I was looking at bogey but rolled in a 15-footer for par. Those days are always nice.”

Told that the total distance for the putts he’d made had been 136 feet and 10 inches, he added: “I knew it would be a lot but didn’t think it would be that much.

“I only missed three greens yesterday but today I probably missed seven or eight. I wasn’t quite so tidy tee to green, but it’s amazing what the putter can do for you when you putt well.”

Knox missed the cut on three-over, after rounds of 74 and 71. It was the first time he’d made an early exit in an event since The Masters last April and first time in a regular PGA Tour event in nearly a year.

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Kylie Henry has clawed her way back from an opening 78 to be in contention heading into the final round of the ALPG’s RACV Gold Coast Challenge.

The two-time LET Tour winner is lying joint-seventh, six shots off the lead, after carding five birdies for the second day in a row at RACV Royal Pines.

She signed for a three-under-par 70 - the day’s second best score after a 68 from home player Sarah Jane Smith - in the third round.

Michele Thomson, who was tied for lead after opening 70, shot a second 78 to slip to joint-27th with Gemma Dryburgh, the third Scot in the field, a stroke further back in joint-32nd after rounds of 80, 73 and 74

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Sam Brazel has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for December following a dramatic triumph at the USB Hong Kong Open.

The 38-year-old Australian birdied the last hole at Hong Kong Golf Club to overcome Spanish star Rafa Cabrera Bello by one shot.

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Irishman Brendan McGovern dedicated his Senior Tour Qualifying School final in Portugal to his uncle after finishing top of the class.

The 51-year-old successfully made his way through Q-School for the second consecutive year, going wire-to-wire with rounds of 66-66-73-68 to finish six strokes on 11-under.

“It was a different Brendan McGovern out there today,” he said. “Last year, after finishing Q-School, nobody had told me that my uncle had passed away during the tournament.

“He was buried a year ago today and I have to dedicate this to him. He was my 15th club. He was the one who got me into golf, and that kept me going today.”

American duo Clark Dennis and Gary Rusnak, Englishman Peter Wilson and Frenchman Jean Pierre Sallat secured the other cards up for grabs.

Sallat got his hands on the fifth and final one after beating English pair Jeff Hall and David Shacklady with a birdie on the first extra hole in a play-off.

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Amateur champion Scott Gregory has chalked up another notable match-play victory.

In an all-English final, he beat Marco Penge by one hole to win the New South Wales Amateur at Terrey Hills Golf & Country Club.

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Stuart McKendrick, a scratch player at Dunkeld & Birnham, won an extra event on the Midland Golfers’ Alliance schedule with a four-under 69 at Drumoig.

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