Laird boosts Ryder hopes
Martin Laird's bid for a Ryder Cup spot was boosted by a runners-up finish in Hawaii - but he still has plenty of work to do.
Last Updated: 10/01/12 4:01pm
Martin Laird's bid for a 2012 Ryder Cup spot got off to an excellent start after his second place in the PGA Tour's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions - but he still faces a huge battle to make Jose Maria Olazabal's team.
The 29-year-old Scot, who is based in America, needed to play 13 European Tour events last season if he wanted to be on the points race when it started in September.
But he opted to remain in the US, meaning he couldn't start banking points until rejoining the European Tour as an affiliate member this month.
Laird birdied five of the last seven holes to finish runner-up to Steve Stricker in Hawaii and although second place at Kapalua was worth 22.8 ranking points and lifted him from 47th to 33rd in the world, it still left him only 40th on the 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 as a name that's in contention for the team," he said after losing to Stricker by three shots.
"Obviously 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."
Laird, winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March, is not playing this week's Sony Open, but returns to action in California next Thursday and is playing every week next month.
"I'm excited about the first part of my schedule. I really like all those courses and feel I have a really good chance of winning at all those tournaments."
Bogeys at the eighth and 10th left Laird too much to do unless Stricker had a nightmare finish, but the Glaswegian was delighted to close as strongly as he did.
"I let a bunch of final rounds go last year and I had a little talk to myself walking down 11.
"I set my goal birdieing five of the last seven holes standing on 12 tee and I did that."