SAN ANTONIO, Texas — TaylorMade Tour Staff professional Martin Laird powered and putted his way to a course-record 63 on Sunday at TPC San Antonio en route to his third career PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open, charging down the leader before taking total command down the stretch in a flawless final round. The scorecard from Sunday is littered with Laird’s carnage, needing just 22 putts, making nine birdies and avoiding a single bogey in what will remembered as one of the defining rounds of his career.
With the world’s second-ranked player breathing down his neck, Laird was poised, stoic even, in his course-record tying final round in which seemingly every putt fell, every ball bounced in the perfect fashion for the Scotsman. With the win, Laird becomes the first player to win using the new RBZ Stage 2 driver and Lethal golf ball on the PGA Tour; he also bagged an RBZ Stage 2 Tour HL 16.5 degree fairway wood and perhaps most memorably, a midsize Ghost Tour DA-12 putter.
Laird first switched to the new RBZ Stage 2 Tour driver at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando and saw an immediate impact, his driving distance jumping from his season average of 289.0 to nearly 320 yards in his first week with the new model. This year also marks the first season in which Laird has played a TaylorMade golf ball – he switched to Lethal at the beginning of the season so Sunday, too, marks his first win with the new ball.
Laird, 30, commented following his round that two weeks of being asked about The Masters – he wasn’t in the field before Sunday’s victory – stung a little but also served as great motivation for his play this week. “[Augusta] was my major motivation,” he said in a televised interview with NBC Sports. The win puts Laird in the field at Augusta for the third year in a row and he’ll try to improve upon his career-best finish of T20 (2011).
Certainly, Laird leaves San Antonio with all the momentum in the world and a seriously hot putter, two things that should bode well for his chances inside the ropes at Augusta. He’s driving the ball wonderfully – his average was up again this week, from 289.4 to 303 yards – and he finished top-5 in the field in total driving, a statistic where he’ll have to capitalize again at Augusta to have a shot at his first major championship. Here’s a full rundown on the TaylorMade clubs in Martin’s winning bag used in his third career PGA Tour victory.
Laird’s Winning Bag
RBZ Stage 2 Tour 9* (Matrix 8m3)
RBZ Stage 2 Tour HL 16.5 (Mitsubishi Diamana B)
R9 5-wood 19* (Mitsubishi Diamana B)
Tour Preferred 08 3-4 irons, TPMC 5-PW (Rifle 7.0)
Midsize Ghost Tour DA-12 putter
Lethal golf ball