Martin Laird breaks into world top 50 for the first time

SCOT Martin Laird has broken into the world's top 50 for the first time in his career. The 27-year-old continued his rich vein of form with a third-place finish in the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday.

Laird had taken the lead on the back nine in the first USPGA Tour-sanctioned event in south east Asia. But overnight leader Ben Crane edged out England's Brian Davis for victory, with Laird third alongside Luke Donald.

The Glaswegian's sixth top-10 of the year has now catapulted him a further six places up the world rankings and into 49th spot. And if he can retain his place until December 31, Laird will tee-up in all four Majors and all World Golf Championship events in 2011.

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Not since Colin Montgomerie's peak has a Scotsman enjoyed such a privilege into the biggest tournaments.

Laird, who has competed in the US since graduating from Colorado State University in 2004, made his big breakthrough in Vegas at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last year, when he earned the distinction of being the first Scot to win on American soil since Sandy Lyle in the 1988 Masters.

After finishing last year ranked 101st in the world, the ex-Hilton Park member and Scottish youth champion has continued his form in 2010, enduring another near-miss in a play-off defeat to Matt Kuchar at the Barclays Championship in August.