Ten years after losing on the same hole to an overtime hole-in-one, Martin Laird exacted some revenge on the 17th hole at TPC Summerlin while breaking a seven-year victory drought at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Laird was a bystander during a 2010 playoff in Las Vegas when Jonathan Byrd ended the tournament with a memorable walk-off ace. But back on the same green it was the Scot this time in the spotlight, as Laird rebounded from a 72nd-hole bogey by draining a lengthy birdie putt on the second extra hole to beat Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook. It's the fourth career victory for Laird, his second at this event (2009) and his first since the 2013 Valero Texas Open.
"It's been a while," Laird said. "I've been working hard, and it's been seven years since my last win. Probably feel like now my game is as good as it has been. I've been playing really good the last few weeks but just hadn't seen the results. But I love it here."
Laird started the day with a share of the lead, and he appeared to be the man to beat after improbably holing a bunker shot from a plugged lie for eagle on the par-5 ninth. But he needed a scrambling par on the penultimate hole to retain a one-shot advantage after bouncing his tee shot off the cart path, then couldn't get up and down from off the green on No. 18 to win in regulation.
Laird, 37, has reached as high as No. 21 in the world rankings, but he tore his meniscus in June and had made just four starts since the Tour returned from the COVID-19 break. He has fallen to No. 358 in the latest rankings and needed a sponsor exemption just to tee it up this week on a course where he won for the first time 11 years ago.
But Laird made the most of that exemption, beating the sun and a pair of players each looking for win No. 2. The victory gives Laird a Tour exemption through the 2022-23 season as well as spots in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Players, Masters and PGA Championship next year.
"I haven't had time to think about it. As you can tell, I'm emotional," Laird said. "I can't wait to get back home and see my kids and my wife and celebrate with them."
Laird joins Jim Furyk (1995, '98, '99) and Kevin Na (2011, '19) as the only players to win multiple times at TPC Summerlin.
Wolff and Cook both started the day in a tie for third, three shots behind Laird, and both got into the playoffs with rounds of 5-under 66 to get into the clubhouse at 23 under. Cook earned his best finish since his breakthrough win at the 2017 RSM Classic, while Wolff notched his third runner-up finish in his last 10 starts, and second in a row following his showing at last month's U.S. Open.
Patrick Cantlay, who started the final round with a share of the lead in his quest to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson as the only players since 1960 to finish first or second at the same Tour event four straight years, dropped into a tie for eighth after a final-round 73. He was joined at 18 under by Bryson DeChambeau, who closed with a 66 in what is expected to be his only competitive start between his win at Winged Foot and the start of the Masters next month.