Seeing is still not believing
October 11, 2020

Watch Martin Laird make this incredible eagle by holing an impossible-looking bunker shot from a buried lie

You need a few breaks to win a PGA Tour event. After Martin Laird, winless in the last seven years on tour, took the title at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday, he knew one he could point to, without a doubt.

Sitting at 21 under through eight holes during the final round at TPC Summerlin, one shot ahead of Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook, Laird went for the green in two on the par-5 ninth hole, and proceeded to get one of the worst breaks you could imagine. His ball needed six more inches to cover the front bunker and land somewhere on the green to set up an eagle putt. Instead, it plugged in the sand. And not just anywhere in the sand. Right under the front lip.

The Golf Channel commentators were using all their favorite commentating innuendo to explain just how impossible the shot was. "He might not get this out of the bunker," said one. They mentioned that Laird had had surgery on his left knee to fix a torn meniscus only five months before, and that wrist and hand injuries frequently occur from playing these kind of bunker shots.

They made it sound like what Laird faced next was going to be hazardous to his health.

Yet the three-time PGA Tour winner decided to play on, the warrior that he is. And this was the result.

Of course when you see a shot like this, you risk being a victim of recency bias and want to praise the shot as the best thing since the remote control. But seriously, how amazingly good was that shot?

"You know, obviously I wasn't planning on holing it," Laird said afterward, "but it was lying so badly right under the lip that I said to my friend, 'Sometimes when they're that bad it almost helped me because was it a tight pin.' It doesn't matter how hard you hit it. They just kind of pop out and go nowhere.

"So I was hopeful of getting that inside maybe 10 feet if it came out pretty good. I hit it hard as I could. Obviously all the sand exploded and I couldn't see anything, and I managed to open my eyes up as the ball landed and it started tracking. I mean, I enjoyed being down to the level of the bunker and watching that one go in. I'm not going to lie."

With the eagle—the third time he'd eagled the ninth hole this week—Laird went to 23 under and took a three-shot lead into the back nine at TPC Summerlin. Of course, things got tight on the back, Laird, Wolff and Cook eventually winding up in a playoff that Laird won with a birdie on the second extra hole.

Meanwhile, we feel safe in predicting that there will be no better holed bunker shot by Laird from a buried lie than this one for at least the rest fall.

Or maybe the season.

Or probably the decade.