Martin Laird tooled around the North course at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, California, with a second 67 to take a 1-shot lead in the Frys.com Open. He leads Sang-Moon Bae and Zachary Blair by 1 and the trio of Scott Langley, David Lingmerth and Mark Hubbard (219-yard hole-in-one with a 5-iron) by 2 shots. Laird has been playing so well that he didn’t make a bogey until the 6th hole in the second round.
He attributes his good play to his bad play in 2014. He finished just outside the top 125 on the FedExCup points list at 127 and missed The Playoffs. The good news in that was that it gave him seven weeks off what with The Playoffs and the Ryder Cup and the open weeks before and after.
The bad news about that was that after switching back to his old coach, Mark McCann, he had cleaned things up enough that he was playing some pretty good golf at the end of the year, but he ran out of tournaments. He just didn’t do it soon enough:
“I took a few weeks off and then practiced hard the last month to make sure all that good work I put in before didn’t go away over seven weeks, so you never know until you get out here, and obviously very happy to back up my good round yesterday with one just as good today.”
But there were a few more details on how that all unfolded. It was a progressive process of how you get a Tour-quality golf game in shape:
“I switched back to Mark McCann, and would have been before I went over and played Scottish Open, so about the time of the Open championship.”
“And then just started working on some things. There was a couple of little bad habits. I’d go in, just started working on some things we used to work on, and right away saw results, started to turn around. And then kind of kept that going.”
“Gradually played better at Canada and Reno and Wyndham. Every week I started to feel like I was playing better; I was getting a little more comfortable. And then over the seven weeks I had my coach come up to Charlotte a couple of times and we did some work then, but when he came up, I mean we really worked on short game. He came up, and I was hitting it good. My swing was looking good like it had at the end of the regular season last year. So I think that was a good thing.”
“I probably worked more on my short game in the last month than I have in a long time, and I’ve definitely seen it this week. I’m putting good, and my wedge game, especially. My wedge game was pretty bad last year, and we really worked on that, and my shot on the last [a 78-yard lob wedge for a 4-foot birdie] — it’s nice when you do the hard work and then you hit wedge shot on the last hole to tap‑in range almost. It makes it worthwhile.”
And there was one last thing that brought it all into alignment, the peace and perspective a child brings into your life:
“[He] makes it all — puts it all into reality, and it’s nice when you get up in the morning and your little boy is there or you come back after practice and you’re tired and he’s there smiling at you. It definitely makes it a lot easier to be out here, and makes golf not seem quite as important, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m a little more chilled out on the golf course and that can only be good for me.”
So far, so good. That little boy will one day discover just how lucky he is.