Scot Martin Laird blew a gilt-edged chance to pick up his second PGA Tour victory after throwing away a three-shot overnight lead at The Barclays.
Laird had started his final round clear at the head of the field, and opened with birdies on the first two holes to move five shots clear. But the Scottish player made a hash of the par-5 third hole to rack up a double bogey, and another followed at the next hole to open the door for the rest of the field. However, Laird recovered and by the time he had reached the 18th hole, he still held a one shot lead, following a birdie on the 17th hole to nose back in front.
But a 3-putt from 25yards ensured Laird would have to go to extra-time if he were to win, as his 12-under par finishing total was matched by American Matt Kuchar.
Kuchar had started the day in fifth place, but scorched round the Ridgewood Country Club in 66 strokes, which saw the player card 5 birdies without reply.
The playoff down the 18th hole went Kuchar’s way after his 7-iron approach shot from the rough was kindly aided by the slop of the green to rest just 3 feet from the flag for a birdie – a score Laird couldn’t match after his approach landed some 50 feet from the pin.
Laird can take some small consolation that he will be in next week’s FedEx Cup playoff event after starting this week in 95th place. Only the top 100 players in the rankings move forward, and Laird’s excellent week sees him safely in the field.
“Obviously, not the finish I was looking for,” Laird said. “But I’m very proud of the way I played today. “I was kind of battling all day, and probably holed two or three of the biggest putts I’ve ever holed just to be where I was.”
Steve Stricker shot a round of 66 to take third spot on 10-under par alongside Kevin Streelman, while a best-of-the-day 64 from Rory Sabbatini saw the South African tie fifth place with Americans Vaught Taylor and Ryan Palmer, and Australian Jason Day a further shot behind.
World number one Tiger Woods put on a late charge on the final day but it was never going to be enough to catch the leaders. Tiger, starting the week well down the FedEx Cup table, finished on 7-under par and earned a share of 12th place following his closing 67. Tiger had held the first round lead after opening with a 65.
Paul Casey shrugged off some of the disappointment of being overlooked by Colin Montgomerie for the European Ryder Cup team by carding a 2-under par 69 to move alongside Woods at seven-under. Luke Donald, who had been given a wild-card into the team, opened his final round with six straight birdies and made another at the 9th hole before undoing all his good work on the back nine, giving back four shots to drop into a tie for 15th place at 6-under par.
However, Padraig Harrington gave Ryder Cup snipers some ammunition after stumbling to a 4-over par 75 on his final round.
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