LAS VEGAS -- Martin Laird has put together two great rounds at TPC Summerlin, following a second-round 62 with a 63. Now the Scot's trying to follow his breakthrough victory with a successful title defense.
Laird eagled the 310-yard, par-4 15th -- driving the green and holing an 8-foot putt -- and closed with three pars to take a one-stroke lead over Jonathan Byrd on Saturday in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
"I really left myself the easiest putt on the green," Laird said. "It was a right-edge, up-the-hill putt. That's the one most of us would want if we had 6 feet for eagle."
"It's completely different because last year it was probably the best chance I've had to date to win a tournament and I was 134th or something on the money list," said Laird, 43rd on the money list this season. "So there was a lot more pressure on me last year than this year. It's definitely a little more relaxed week than last year, knowing that I've had a good year so far, and I don't have to worry about playing to keep my card."
Laird, a playoff loser to Matt Kuchar in The Barclays this year, had a 19-under 194 total on the rain-softened course in the fourth of five Fall Series events.
"It's been a good three days and, even after only shooting 2 under the first day, I was pretty confident that I could post three low ones in a row to get back in contention," Laird said. "I maybe didn't think I'd post 17 under the next two rounds, but I'm pleased obviously where I am and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
"Any time you shoot 62 you've got to feel pretty good after it. I was just pleased to finally make some putts because I hit it just as good on Thursday as I did on Friday, just made nothing, so it was nice to see the ball go in the hole. I've started to get a little more comfortable with the speed of the greens as the week has gone on and putted nicely again today."
"I was 1 over through five," Simpson said. "But I told myself to stay patient and I knew birdies would come. I knew I was playing well enough to make a lot of birdies, and they came.
"I birdied six through nine and then 11 through 13 and then 15 and 16. I don't know if I've ever had 10 birdies in a round out here on tour, but it felt good."
Percy, a 36-year-old rookie from Australia, is 185th on the money list with the final top 125 earning full status for next year.