Briton Laird surges to three-shot lead at Barclays

Updated: Aug 29, 2010, 10:31 AM IST

Paramus: Briton Martin Laird fired a six-under 65 to surge into a three-shot lead after Saturday`s third round of the Barclays tournament, the opening event of the FedExCup playoff series.

The Scot reeled off four birdies in a row from the second hole on the way to a 12-under-par total of 201 at Ridgewood Country Club.

"I`m playing really well," the 27-year-old Glaswegian told reporters. "The putter`s nice and hot."

Overnight leader Jason Day (70) of Australia was in joint second place with long-hitting American Dustin Johnson (64), one stroke better than Australian Adam Scott (68) on 205.

Johnson`s bogey-free round was helped by an eagle at the par-five 13th.

"I definitely put myself into the hunt," said Johnson, who missed out on this month`s PGA Championship playoff when he was controversially hit with a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker.

Six players were one more shot away on 206, including Briton Justin Rose, who registered a 65.

Tiger Woods, who led after the first round before slipping four behind at the halfway mark, nearly shot himself out of the playoffs by posted a triple-bogey seven at the first hole after launching his tee shot into a car park.

However, the world number one, who needs to finish 50th to guarantee his place in next week`s FedExCup event, rallied with three birdies on the back nine to shoot a 72 for 210.

"I`m pleased how I sucked it up and got it back the rest of the day when it easily could have gone the other way," he said.

Laird, who clinched his U.S. tour card with a victory last season in Las Vegas, said he really enjoyed playing the classic, tree-lined course where he tied for seventh the last time the Barclays was staged at Ridgewood in 2008.

"I love it," the Scot said about the A.W. Tillinghast design just 30 minutes drive from midtown Manhattan. "I don`t think there`s a bad hole on this golf course."

Day struggled off the tee, hitting four of 14 fairways.

The biggest boost to his round came on a par-four in which he purposely avoided the fairway, flying his tee shot to the green on the 289-yard, uphill par-four fifth hole where he sank a 20-foot putt for eagle.

"Hit more fairways, hit more fairways," the 22-year-old Day, winner of the Byron Nelson Championship, said about his goal for Sunday.

Bureau Report