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Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Sunday, 27 March 2011 11:01 UK

Martin Laird leads Arnold Palmer Invitational

Third-round leaderboard: -11 M Laird (Sco) -9 S Levin (US) -7 S Marino (US), B Watson (US) -6 D Toms (US), R Fowler (US) -5 M Leishmann (Aus), T Immelman (SA), J Senden (Aus), C Howell III (US) Selected others:-4 KJ Choi (Kor) -3 B Davis (Eng) -2 J Rose (Eng), S Garcia (Spa), P Mickelson (US) -1 I Poulter (Eng), T Woods (US)

Martin Laird
Laird carded a seven-under 65 in the second round

Scotland's Martin Laird holds a two-shot lead ahead of the final 18 holes of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida after a solid third-round 70.

After a fast start, Laird fell back to share the lead with American Spencer Levin after a bogey at the 15th.

But Laird recovered with a birdie at the 16th and finished two shots clear of second-placed Levin.

Former world number one Tiger Woods began the day six shots off the lead but dropped away with a two-over 74.

Laird's only previous PGA title came in Las Vegas in 2009 and the Glasgow-born world number 40 believes he has the form to press home his advantage on the final day.

"This is a carry-over from the end of last year and it gives you the confidence to go out and hold the lead and hopefully do the same tomorrow," he said.

"I know I'll have to concentrate hard, and hopefully I'll wind up on top. If I can win it will mean a lot."

Laird could have made himself even more comfortable as he stretched four shots clear of the rest of the field early on.

After holing out from around five feet to pick up birdies on the fouth and fifth, the 28-year-old picked up another stroke as he two-putted from long range on the par-five sixth.

But Laird wobbled as bogeys on 14 and 15 briefly gave first-round leader Levin parity, before the Scot edged back in front.

Woods ended a frustrating day 10 shots adrift after failing to build on an eagle at the par-five sixth.

The 14-time Major winner threw his driver to the ground in frustration after a wayward drive on the ninth and reached the turn in level-par 36.

Any slim hopes the American had of shutting the gap on the leaders evaporated with a double-bogey six after finding the water at the 13th.

"The round kind of turned at 13. I had to get aggressive there," said Woods.

"I figured I needed to probably shoot three or four under par at least to have a chance going into tomorrow. I paid the price for it."

South Korea's KJ Choi also endured a miserable homeward run as he allowed Laird to escape from one to nine shots ahead of him.

Bubba Watson carded a four-under 68 to move into a share of third place with fellow American Steve Marino while Australia's Marc Leishmann was another big mover with a 66 taking him to five under.

Americans Ricky Fowler and David Toms are also within reach of Laird, sharing sixth place on -6.

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see also
Laird cards 65 to lead in Florida
26 Mar 11 |  Golf
Shocking start for McDowell in US
25 Mar 11 |  Golf

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