Laird Celebrates 10th Anniversary Arnold Palmer Win With Bay Hill Opening 69

Martin Laird celebrated the first round of the 10th anniversary of his 2011 victory and set about ending a run of three missed cuts with a three-under par 69 on day one of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in suburban Orlando.

Laird, 38, and the reigning Shriners Hospital Open champion, raced to three-under par after just seven holes before a ninth hole bogey and after a fourth birdie of his round at his 12th hole he pared his closing six holes in bright but very cool morning conditions.

The pick of the Denver-based Scot’s birdies was at the par-4 5th, or the sixth hole of his round, and where Laird just found the rough after a 312-yard drive and then in landing his 171-yard second shot to 16-feet, he holed the birdie ‘3’ putt.

Laird ended his round with the then clubhouse lead before being overhauled by fellow Bay Hill winner, Rory McIlroy in posting a 66.

Martin Laird with ‘The King’ Arnold Palmer in 2011

Laird said:  “Yeah, very happy with that. It was a little breezy out there, especially early and cool this morning, so both front nine and back nine the first three, four holes are some tough holes.

“I was really pleased to get off to a good start through my first four, five holes and then just kind of kept it going.”

Laird’s victory 10 years ago was the second of now four PGA Tour wins and with the Scot fortunate to be handed the trophy by Palmer before he passed away on the Sunday prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Laird said: “Even before I won, this was a tournament you always wanted to get in, just because of Mr. Palmer being associated with it.

“And now as a past champion it’s always very special coming back. It doesn’t get old seeing all the umbrellas and just being here, the feel of this tournament, it’s definitely one of the special ones that we play.

“And it was great today also to hear some cheers and a little bit of energy from the fans, it was fun to play in front of a crowd again.”

Fellow Scots Russell Knox and Bay Hill debutant, Robert MacIntyre were out in the afternoon half of the draw.



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