MARTIN Laird is close to regaining his place in the world’s top 50 after making his presence felt on the last day in the Players’ Championship, golf’s unofficial fifth major, for the second year running.
The 30-year-old Scot, who tied for second behind Matt Kuchar at Sawgrass 12 months ago, earned a share of fifth on Sunday following a closing 67.
It lifted him 14 places in the world rankings to 53rd, having been as high as 22nd in August 2011 but then dropped to 117th until winning the Valero Texas Open last month.
“That’s one of the best rounds I’ve played all year and one of the best rounds I’ve played in a while,” said Laird, who is also up to 21st in the FedEx Cup, of his five-under effort. “I went in today actually confident of giving the leaders a push.
“At five shots back heading into the final round, I was not confident of winning, but I knew I could get in contention. I had to get off to a good start and did I that.”
Laird, whose career earnings on the PGA Tour stand at $10.7m, is closing in on Paul Lawrie (42nd) in the battle to be Scottish No 1 while Stephen Gallacher (71st), Richie Ramsay (89th) and Scott Jamieson (90th) are also still inside the top 100.