Laird secures Masters' spot with Texas victory
Agence France-Presse in San Antonio, Texas
Martin Laird punched his ticket to the Masters by firing a closing round of nine-under 63 to capture the PGA Tour's Texas Open by two strokes.
The 30-year-old Scotsman matched the course record and snapped an American win streak on the PGA Tour that dates back to last season.
Rory McIlroy got within one stroke of the lead when he birdied the 14th hole, but the Northern Irishman ended two back at minus-12 after a final-round 66.
Laird, who entered the day five shots adrift of the leader, rolled in birdies on his final three holes at the TPC San Antonio.
"I felt really good coming here because I like this golf course. I played well here a couple of years ago," said Laird, who finished his third PGA Tour victory at 14-under 274.
"I wanted to stay aggressive. Finally, in a final round my putter got hot. I can't believe it."
American Jim Furyk holed out for eagle on the par-five 18th for a three-under 69. He shared third place at 11-under with third-round leader Billy Horschel (71) and Charley Hoffman (69), who birdied six of his final eight holes.
This marks the first time that the Texas Open has served as the final Masters tune-up with the winner getting a free pass into Augusta. Laird's victory also snapped an American win streak on the PGA Tour which dated back to last October.
World No2 McIlroy finished two shots behind Laird to post his best finish of the year.
"I think over the last three rounds I eliminated the stupid mistakes and mental errors," McIlroy said. "To finish this tournament with a round like today is great going into Augusta. I am really pleased with my game this has been a great week for me."