Laird back in Las Vegas hoping that he can keep his hot streak there alive

martin laird
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Martin Laird has a win and a near-miss in his last two trips to Las Vegas.
By
PA Sport

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 1:30 a.m.

Scotland's Martin Laird will hope to hit the jackpot in Las Vegas again this week at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Laird claimed his first PGA Tour title in the tournament in 2009, and was only denied a successful defense last year when Jonathan Byrd fired a hole-in-one on the fourth hole of a three-man playoff.

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TPC Summerlin first hosted the PGA Tour in 1983, when Fuzzy Zoeller won the Panasonic Las Vegas Pro Celebrity Classic.

The 28-year-old from Glasgow is a combined 40 under par for his last two appearances in Vegas and goes into the event in good form after finishing 12th in the BMW Championship earlier this month.

That meant Laird finished 31st in the FedExCup standings, agonizingly missing out on a top-30 place that would have secured him a place at last week's Tour Championship at East Lake.

Laird was faced with a tough choice of where to play this week, with his native Scotland staging the Dunhill Links Championship, where he finished fifth last year thanks to a closing round of 67 at St. Andrews.

"The reason I'm not coming back for the Dunhill this year, unfortunately, is that it falls opposite the tournament in Las Vegas," Laird said. "But I hope to be back next year to play."

With the FedExCup over for the year, attention turns to the PGA Tour's Fall Series and the battle to retain playing rights for next season by finishing in the top 125 on the money list.

The top 125 after the four remaining events earn their cards for 2012, and Laird offers hope to those struggling at the wrong end of the list.

In 2009, Laird was 134th in the standings before winning in Vegas to earn a two-year exemption and move up to 62nd, and there are several other examples of players striking it lucky in the gambling capital of the United States.

In 2008 Marc Turnesa came to Las Vegas 138th on the money list and a 500-1 outsider, but went on to win the title. And Troy Matteson was 143rd in 2006 before his win.

World No. 11 Nick Watney is the favorite to claim his fifth Tour title and third of 2011, having finished tied for sixth at TPC Summerlin last year.