- The Augusta Chronicle - Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A whirlwind 24 hours took Martin Laird from a Texas Open win to Augusta National Golf Club.

Laird fired 9-under-par 63 in the final round in San Antonio on Sunday to win by two strokes over Rory McIlroy, earning an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

The 30-year-old Scot failed to break 70 in the first three rounds of the tournament before blowing past the field and holding off McIlroy.

“It was one of those days,” Laird said. “I’d been hitting it great all week, really, really good all week. I hadn’t been putting great, just putting average, so Sunday the difference was the putts started going in.

“I kept trying to be aggressive, because I knew Rory and Jim (Furyk) and all those guys behind me were firing away at the flag, so I knew I had to keep doing it, and it was one of those kind of dream days where everything seems to go well.”

Laird’s victory also broke a 14-tournament winning streak for Americans on the PGA Tour this year.

It was the kind of day Laird hadn’t experienced in more than a year. The 63 was his lowest round since he shot 63 in November 2011 at the Mission Hills World Cup, making Sunday’s result and subsequent Masters invitation a bit unexpected for him.

Laird, who is making his third Masters appearance, said getting into the Masters so late might take some pressure of him.

“I was playing well coming into last week but, because I didn’t know until Sunday I was coming here, I don’t really have expectations, which is a good thing,” he said. “I’m a little more relaxed this week. I don’t have all the people coming that normally come, because it’s such short notice. So it’s kind of a quieter, more relaxed week.”

Laird made the cut in both of his previous years at Augusta National, and his best finish was a tie for 20th in 2011.

“Obviously, the more you can run this golf course, the more you get used to where you need to go,” he said. “So I feel a little more comfortable every time.”

 

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