NAPA, Calif. - Martin Laird wasn't sure what to expect out of his game after a seven-week break. He hasn't found too much wrong after two rounds of the Frys.com Open.
Laird bounced back from his first bogey of the new PGA Tour season by running off four straight birdies around the turn. One last birdie on the par-5 18th at Silverado gave him a second straight 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Bae Sang-moon among the early starters Friday.
The Ryder Cup trio of Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker played in the afternoon. Lee Westwood of England shot a 69 to at least avoid missing the cut, though he was eight shots behind
Laird was at 10-under 134.
He made a sloppy bogey on the sixth hole with a poor tee shot into the bunker, hitting into another bunker some 80 feet from the flag and missing an 8-foot putt. He had to scramble for par on the next hole, and then he took off.
After a pair of short birdie putts, Laird rolled in a birdie from 20 feet on No. 10, and then made another birdie putt from the same range up the ridge toward a tucked pin on the par-3 11th.
Bae made all three of his birdies on the par 5s and was at 135.
Brooks Koepka, an impressive figure with his power, couldn't take advantage on the par 5s and had to settle for a 70. He was four shots behind Laird going into the weekend. Koepka was the 54-hole lead at the Frys.com Open a year ago, which set the tone for him to earn his PGA Tour card. Koepka played last year on the European Tour.
Laird had more time off than he wanted. A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, he felt his game slipping away when he went back to swing coach Mark McCann and started putting the pieces back together. It was too late to salvage his season. Laird wound up at No. 127 in the FedEx Cup standings - missing by 13 points - and had a month off.
There also were two open weeks around the Ryder Cup in his native Scotland.
"You never know how you're going to play after seven weeks off like I had," Laird said. "Just to come out and put back-to-back 67s up and play very solid - very solid 67s - I'm extremely happy."
When he met with McCann during his break to keep working on his game, the swing was in such good shape that they spent the majority of time working on his short game. That much was evident when he missed the green on the par-3 seventh hole and hit a tricky pitch to 6 feet for par, and on the 18th with a wedge from the first cut that spun back a few feet from the cup.
"I've definitely seen it this week," Laird said of the short-game work. "I'm putting good. My wedge game was pretty bad last year, and we really worked on that. My shot on the last ... it's nice when you do the hard work and then you hit a wedge shot on the last hole to tap-in range almost. It makes it worthwhile."