Laird in command in California

Martin LairdMartin Laid (4/1 to win outright) will start Saturday’s third round of the Open with a one-shot lead after he performed sensationally well on the greens on Friday.

Laird is one shot clear of Sang-Moon Bae (8/1 to win the Open) and Zachary Blair after he hit a second round 67 at the Silverado course in Napa.

The Scotsman managed to settle his nerves to convert a number of birdie opportunities as he birdied four on the bounce from the eighth.

He managed to hold on and also putted for birdie on the last to give himself a good lead in the PGA Tour’s season-opening event.

Speaking after his second round, Laird admitted his putting was what helped him secure the lead.

He said: “Last year was a grind. A couple of bad shots and my confidence would go or frustration would come in.

“It’s awfully refreshing to be actually enjoying it and looking forward to the last two rounds rather than worrying about what might be coming.

“I putted really well today. A few holes I played smart to the middle of the green and made some nice 20 to 25-footers.”

Bae is still in contention after a second-round 69 but overnight joint-leader Andres Gonzales appears to be out of contention. He had started the day tied for the lead but he hit a 74 to move down to 22nd in the leaderboard.

While Laird is in form, he will need to be wary of the threat from down the leaderboard. Blair hit six birdies in a 66 but he is being closely followed by Sweden’s David Lingmerth and the American pair of Scott Langley and Mark Hubbard, who are on eight under.

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