Trying to be as delicate as he possibly could with a putt down a bank on the right, the 38-year-old Scot couldn’t believe his eyes as it put the brakes on after just a couple of feet and, in the end, he would have been relieved to make a bogey.
He signed for a level-par 72 in the third round of the 85th Masters for a one-over-par total to sit in a tie for 29th, getting finished just before play was suspended for just over an hour due to thunderstorms in the area.
"I hit the ball excellent today and it really could have been a real low one if I had sunk some putts but unfortunately I didn’t,” said the four-time PGA Tour winner, most recently in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
“It’s just that type of golf course where I could have been five or six-under 13 or 14 holes, but I didn’t make any.
“If I keep hitting it like this and have a nice day with the putter, I can hopefully make a nice move tomorrow because that was really as well as I’ve hit my irons that good in a long time. So, if I can control my golf ball tomorrow and get the putter heated up a bit more, hopefully I can finish with a good round.”
Laird, who made it to the weekend for the third time in four appearances here, with this success coming after an eight-year absence, produced a blistering start.
He’d talked on Friday about his iron play having been good in the opening two rounds and that continued to be the case as his approach at the first from 182 yards in the first cut ended up a foot from the hole.
Equally impressive was the touch he then showed to begin his day with back-to-back birdies, finding himself more than 100 feet from the hole at the second but getting the next one close enough for the fourth blow to be converted.
Continuing to hit some quality shots early on, the Denver-based player gave himself decent birdie chances at the third, fifth and sixth before sending his second from the right rough through the back of the green at the seventh and, as a consequence, dropping his first shot of the day.
He then reeled off 10 pars in a row before finishing with that bogey - his third this week at the 18th.
“I kind of feel like every round this week I've played really well and kind of gotten the least out of it I could, so sometimes you have tournaments where you do that and then on the Sunday you make some putts and get the most out of it,” added the Glaswegian.
“I'm going to go out and have a fun day tomorrow, and, if I make some of those looks I was giving myself today and do the same tomorrow, it could be a really fun day.”
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