"Everyone's going to have butterflies," Horschel said. "I don't care if it's Tiger Woods or Joe Schmo at the golf course; you're going to have butterflies, and you have to learn how to deal with it."
McIlroy closed to within a shot of Laird when he sank a 13-foot birdie putt on the 204-yard par-3 16th to reach 11 under, but it was Laird who closed like the two-time major winner rather than someone just trying to play in next week's major.
While McIlroy's primary focus throughout the week was on preparing for Augusta National, Laird couldn't have imagined when the week began that he would join the former world No. 1 next week.
Laird earned this third straight trip to the Masters with his win, which he closed out with three straight birdies. That included the surprising up-and-down on No. 17 and finishing with a 15-foot putt for birdie on 18 — clinching a share of the course record, which was set in last year's opening round by Matt Every.
Laird played at Augusta National the last two years following his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2011, finishing 20th two years ago and 57th last year.
Well-known name or not, Laird overcame some of the world's best Sunday.
"I know how good Rory is, but it doesn't matter if it's Rory or Jim or Billy, if someone's behind me making birdies like they were, I know I've got to keep making birdies," Laird said. "That was a pretty strong leaderboard at the top there."
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