Laird roars into contention

5/13/2012 11:12:34 PM
Martin Laird  (Getty Images)
Martin Laird (Getty Images)
Martin Laird set a new clubhouse target after an outstanding final round of 67 in The Players Championship at Sawgrass, but Matt Kuchar led in Florida.

The Scot, ahead after the first round following a 65, was six under heading into today, but made his move with a hat-trick of birdies just after the turn.

Laird had already picked up shots at two, seven and nine, yet it was a magical run in the middle that left him level with Kuchar on 12 under.

He went on to bogey the 14th, but responded with a birdie two holes later courtesy of a fine two putt.

Laird narrowly avoided the water after a poor second shot on the last, eventually dropping a shot to finish 11 under.

That did not ruin a fine effort, which came after Luke Donald had dazzled.

Donald needs a top four finish in Florida to overtake Rory McIlroy as World Number One, who missed the cut earlier in the week.

The Englishman started in solid fashion; a birdie and bogey ensured he remained three under par through the front nine.

Yet a charge was to come; the 34 year old birdied six of the last nine holes to equal a course record 30 on the back.

His hopes of moving to the summit of the World Golf Rankings looked faint, though, with five players ahead or level with him.

Leading the pack was Kuchar on 13 under having played typically solid golf.

Even when he did make mistakes, the American made amends epitomised on the 13th, when Kuchar holed a nine footer for par.

That save perhaps earned him the luck gained on the next as after finding the sand, his second shot clipped a tree to fall on the green and earn another par.

That left him one shot ahead of Zach Johnson, who was also 11 under following an impressive birdie on the 17th.