Laird climbs the leaderboard

3/11/2011 7:56:59 PM
Scotland's Martin Laird, whose climb into the world's top 50 has been overshadowed by the deeds of all the Europeans at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, was certainly making his presence felt in Miami.

Midway through his second round at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, US-based Laird was seven under par and sharing second spot with World Number One Martin Kaymer.

They were two behind American Hunter Mahan as the tournament made up for time lost to Thursday's violent thunderstorm.

With scoring much tougher in the windy conditions, Laird completed an outward 34 by reaching the green in two at the long eighth and then making a 45 footer for another birdie on the 169 yard ninth.

That moved the 28 year old up from the fourth position he was in after the morning completion of the first round.

Mahan's opening eight under 64 had given him a one stroke advantage over Japan's 19 year old Ryo Ishikawa, but not surprisingly the teenager fell down the field after seeing coverage of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in his home country.

"My parents live some 250 miles away from the Tokyo area," he said.

"The magnitude of 5.0 felt where my family lives is still a very big earthquake, so I just hope that everybody else around will be safe as well.

"I have a habit of checking the news when I wake up in the morning. Everywhere I saw was all about this and it is not possible to block something of this magnitude out completely.

"But I understand that in the position that I am, together with the other star athletes from Japan and other sporting areas, we can provide encouragement and hope for the people of Japan by doing our job."

Kaymer was again playing with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, the two Englishmen immediately below him on the rankings.

While the German added a back-nine 35 to his initial 66, Donald - having opened with a 67 - dropped back alongside Westwood on three under with bogeys at the 15th and 16th.

Rory McIlroy, on the other hand, set off again with back-to-back birdies and remained six under and joint fourth after four holes.

Tiger Woods came home in 33 for a first round 70, but then mixed two birdies with three bogeys in the first five holes of his second round to be one under.

Playing partners Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson stood two under and level par respectively, Mickelson repairing some of the damage of a double-bogey seven at the penultimate hole of his opening 73.

Woods had commented between the rounds: "The things that I've been working on are starting to come together now - I'm able to control my traj (trajectory) and hit the shots that I want to.

"Last week was a big blessing to have that much wind at home. My ball is flying different distances now, which is good, and I've got a read on that.

"It certainly makes a big difference. Guys are not going to be shooting low numbers now - this is a tough wind because of the strength and also the coolness."

Mahan marched four clear on 11 under with further birdies at the tenth and 12th, the two par fives on the back nine.

Kaymer remained seven under with six to go and shared second with Italian Francesco Molinari, but Laird paid a big price for straying into sand at the short 13th. He came out far too strongly and double-bogeyed to slide down to five under with McIlroy.

Mahan gave the chasing pack encouragement with bogeys at the 14th and 16th, bringing Kaymer and Molinari only two behind.

Laird chipped in from almost 60 feet at the 16th and when he made a six footer on the next he too was seven under - as was McIlroy after birdies at the tenth and 11th.

Donald was four under and Westwood two under, while Woods and McDowell were down in 30th spot on one under and Mickelson two further back.