Martin Laird should take his winner’s cheque and head to the nearest casino because he is clearly the luckiest man in Las Vegas. Laird, holding onto a one-shot lead, blew his tee shot on the par-3 17th wide right, only to watch it hit a cartpath and bound into a position from which he at least had a play. Laird then hit a nifty bump-and-run pitch to 17 feet and rolled in the putt. Then after kicking away his one-shot lead at the last, Laird birdied the second extra hole – also the par-3 17th – to win a three-way playoff over Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook.
Laird’s luck on 17 was merely a continuation of some good karma. He caught what seemed like a horrendous break when his fairway wood shot from 235 metres out on the par-5 ninth hole buried near the lip of the bunker. Considering the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is played at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, the shot seemed typical of the type of bad beat that often occurs in Sin City. But Laird not only deftly navigated the shot, he popped it onto the green and watched it roll into the cup for a timely eagle 3.
The shot was struck with a Cleveland RTX 4 60-degree lob wedge. According to Cleveland Golf, Laird’s wedges are fairly stock in terms of specs. However the 60-degree has a softer leading edge on it with low bounce.
Although Laird was positive strokes gained in all the major categories, he led the field in strokes gained/approach-the-green with his Srixon Z 785 irons with Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord grips, picking up more than seven shots on the field. The Z 785 is a one-piece forging made from soft 1025 carbon steel. Additional mass is placed behind face centre for better energy transfer at impact and the sole features a higher bounce angle towards the leading edge that tapers to less bounce on the trailing edge the sole to help move the clubhead faster through the turf.
The win was Laird’s fourth on the PGA Tour and his second at the Shriners, his first coming in 2009 when he won a playoff over Chad Campbell and George McNeill. Combined, Laird has pocketed almost $US2 million from the two wins in the desert (he also lost a playoff in 2010 adding to the coffers), making Laird the rare visitor to Las Vegas walking away with more than they came with. Defying the odds, indeed.
What Martin Laird had in the bag at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
Driver: Ping G410 LST (Project X Hzrdus Smoke Black 70), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist TS3, 15 degrees
5-wood: TaylorMade R15, 19 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Srixon Z 785
Wedges: Cleveland RTX 3 (52 degrees); Cleveland RTX 4 (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Limited