Friday, 05 August 2011
 Martin Laird   (Getty Images)
Martin Laird (Getty Images)

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Scotland's Martin Laird produced a storming finish to his second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron.

Newlywed Laird birdied Firestone's final three holes to add a 67 to his opening 66 and on seven under par found himself only one behind joint leaders Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore and Adam Scott.

Laird, winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, had mixed three birdies with three bogeys as he came to the long 16th, but struck an 83 yard pitch to four feet there and closed with putts of seven and 15 feet.

Round of the morning came from 22 year old Fowler, a 64 containing an eagle two - he sank his 109 yard pitch to the third - eight birdies and four bogeys, including one at his final hole.

Moore had his second successive 66, while Scott, having started with a dazzling 62, had to settle for a 70, also closing with a bogey.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, England's World Number One and Two, were both three under early in their rounds, with US Open Champion Rory McIlroy one further back as he teed off again.

Because of the threat of thunderstorms the decision has already been taken to bring forward the third round tee-off times on Saturday.

The first start time was to be 7am local time (noon BST) with the leaders - in threes rather than twos - out at 9am.

Scott's fellow countryman Jason Day made it a four-way tie at the top with an opening 12 foot birdie putt, while Donald was only four back when he picked up shots at the first and short seventh.

Westwood was on the same mark after making a curling 15 footer at the fifth, but McIlroy wasted an opening three with a bogey six at the second, rated the easiest hole on the course.

Westwood made another two from almost 50 feet at the seventh and when he rolled in a 12 footer three holes later he was six under, joint seventh and only two back.

Donald had his first bogey of the week on the tenth, though, to go back to three under, one better than McIlroy.

Laird, married in a kilt in Colorado last Saturday with Day and Nick Watney among the guests, said: "I came into this week feeling fresh and on a high. Sometimes it's amazing when you have no expectations how well you'll play."

Westwood undid a lot of his good work by missing the green at the 13th and making a mess of his chip, then going in two bunkers and horse-shoeing out for a second successive bogey.

He returned to four under, one in front of Donald and McIlroy and still only four off the lead with Day bogeying the tenth, before making birdie two holes later to rejoin Scott, Fowler and Moore.

Phil Mickelson holed out from 128 yards for an eagle two on the 11th, but promptly double bogeyed the next to drop back to two under.

Day remained eight under with two to go and was part of a five-way tie as US PGA Tour rookie Keegan Bradley was eight under as well after a 65.

Westwood dropped another shot at the last after going long into sand and so had played the final six in four over to be only two under.

Donald's much more solid 69 took him into the third round on three under and McIlroy was alongside him with one to play.

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