Martin Laird (Getty Images)
Martin Laird is targeting victory in his “fifth Major” at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links this week.
The 29 year old US-based Scot has been working on his short game ahead of the event on home soil.
“Any time you get to come back and play in Scotland it's great, and obviously to play the Scottish Open, I've never hidden the fact that I have treated it as one of the biggest events of the year for me and I'm looking forward to getting started tomorrow,” said the World Number 36.
“I didn't play great last year here with the conditions, the scores were low. And if I remember correctly, I didn't putt very well, and hopefully I can change that this year.
“I really feel like it's a golf course I can play well on. It sets up well for me. Hopefully the weather looks like it's not going to be not too windy, and obviously a it's a little softer after all the rain, so I'd say it's probably leaning a little more towards what I would be more used to than a true hard and fast links course.
“I've had a few really good results and just a few that I wish were a little better. It's all really been down to my short game this year.
“I've been hitting the ball well all year, but my short game, my putting has been a little streaky. The weeks I putt very well I have a chance to win and when I don't I'm kind of in the middle of the pack, and that's how it's been going. It's been a frustrating year in that sense because anyone will tell you when you're hitting it well and not really getting the scores you feel you should, it's always a little frustrating, but I know any week that I putt well I'm going to have a chance, so hopefully it'll be this week.
“That's really what this game's all about - the putting. It doesn't matter how well you hit. I've had good weeks where I've hit it well enough to win easily and I've finished 30th because I just haven't putted great.”
As well as trying to become the first home winner of this event since Colin Montgomerie 13 years ago, Laird is also attempting to boost his chances of making The European Ryder Cup side this year.
“Obviously this week is such a great tournament and playing on a good golf course here at Castle Stuart will definitely help me get ready for next week [The Open Championship], but I'm not here to do that,” said Laird. “I'm here to try and win the Scottish Open.
“My next four weeks I've got two Majors, the World Golf Championship event and the Scottish Open, which I treat as a fifth Major for me.
“I've got a great stretch to do something. They are all big events coming up, and I feel if I play well over this stretch, I'll hopefully win one or at least be in contention in a couple.”