US PGA: Martin Laird given late entry to final major

Martin Laird
Martin Laird, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, is ranked 158th in the world

Shane Lowry's victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday means Scot Martin Laird will compete in this week's US PGA in Wisconsin.

Laird, 32, was first reserve for the final major of the year, which begins at Whistling Straits on Thursday.

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational winner qualifies for the US PGA, but Lowry had already secured his place in the field.

Seven Scots will compete, including Steven Young - a club professional who has been based in the USA since 1995.

The 38-year-old joins tour professionals Stephen Gallacher, Marc Warren, Richie Ramsay and US-based pair Russell Knox and Laird, plus Senior PGA champion Colin Montgomerie, in the field at Whistling Straits.

Young had won 11 titles as an amateur by the age of 18 before moving to the USA on a scholarship at Midland College, Texas. He has since represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup and played twice at The Open.

Having qualified at the PGA National Championship, he is preparing to play in the US PGA for the first time.

In an interview with Channel 7 News last month, he said: "I'm a golf pro, but I work.

Steve Young (right) gives a golf lesson
Steven Young is assistant professional at Midland County Club in Texas

"It's a misconception that being a golf pro must be nice, playing golf all the time.

"In this side of golf, not really. Some weeks I don't play at all."

Young spent a year as a professional on the European Challenge Tour before returning to minor tours in the USA. He gave up competitive golf in 1995 to work as assistant pro at Midland County Club.

"The grind and the strain it took on the family was getting too much and I wanted to be home," said Young, originally from Inverallochy.

"It's kind of fun to have this experience again, but I'm in a different place in my life. It is all about my kids and my wife - golf is secondary.

"Seventeen years ago, I was starting my career in golf, thinking that was what I was going to do my whole life and, now that it's taken a back seat, the competitive side of me, to have this opportunity to go and play against these boys again is awesome.

"I've got nothing to lose. I'm just going to play golf and what happens, happens."