Wednesday 7 December 2016

Impressive Lawrie has leaders in his sights

Bernie McGuire

Published 25/06/2011 | 05:00

Peter Lawrie continues to impress on his return to the European Tour after moving to within three strokes of the lead on the second day of the BMW International Open in Munich.

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Lawrie chipped to just four feet at the last for birdie in a four-under-par round of 68 to move to seven-under-par and well in touch with the lead on the rain-softened Nord Eichenried course.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson (70) and rookie South African George Coetzee (67) head the field on 10-under-par, with world No 124 Stenson looking to end a two-year winning drought on in Europe.

After surging ahead with a first-round 64, he looked as though he might keep the lead to himself when he chipped in for an eagle three at the sixth hole (his 15th) and produced a sublime pitch to within inches of the cup for a birdie at the next.

However, he opened the door for his rivals with a pair of closing bogeys.

Spain's in-form Pablo Larrazabal holed his second shot for eagle at the par-four 16th in a round of 67, leaving him third on nine-under-par, just a week before the third anniversary of his superb French Open victory.

Lawrie had five birdies in his round, at his third and fourth holes and then at 11 and 12, where he first hit a rescue club to 10 feet and then a seven-iron to 15 feet.

"I missed birdie putts on four, five and six, which was disappointing, but I played lovely golf today, and a 68 is always a good score around here," he said.

"The conditions were chalk and cheese compared to Thursday when we played 16 holes in solid rain, so it was much easier out there today."

The only German event on the Race to Dubai schedule is Lawrie's first since the June 3 birth of his fourth child and only son, and the 37-year old is delighted, considering he's hardly touched a golf club since capturing the two-day Quinn PGA Charity Pro-Am on June 14 at Slieve Russell.

"The golf game has been definitely on hold since Christopher was born, but I'm delighted to get back playing well," he said. "Life is so different at home than it is out here. I call this 'Camp European Tour' as we have four young children, so life is a bit more busy at home than it is out here.

Struggle

"I have not played much golf, but it's all about how you start really. If you start well, everything kicks into place. If you start badly, you struggle quite a bit," explained the Dubliner.

"I'm just glad to have a few rounds under my belt now and work from there."

Scotland's Lloyd Saltman shares seven-under-par with Lawrie and revealed his delight at watching TV coverage of former GB & I Walker Cup colleague Rory McIlroy capturing the US Open.

The duo shook hands nearly four years ago in the R & A car park at St Andrews shortly after McIlroy finished third in the 2007 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

While McIlroy has progressed to become golf's latest Major champion and also win on both the European and PGA Tours, it's only this year that Saltman has had the privilege of a full Tour card.

McIlroy acknowledged the effort by texting Saltman and the Scot responded in turn on Sunday night, texting McIlroy straight after his Congressional success.

"It gives you inspiration seeing the guys from that Walker Cup squad doing well and watching Rory gave me a real lift coming here this week," said Saltman.

Lawrie's three compatriots all missed the cut, with Gareth Maybin dropping a shot at the last in a 72 to tie with Damien McGrane (73) at level par.

Shane Lowry missed out for a third straight event with scores of 76 and 72.

Leader Stenson, who has failed to record a victory since the 2009 Players Championship in Florida, is battling to recover his best form.

"I think I'm playing good enough to win this tournament and other tournaments," he said.

Stenson was cautiously optimistic when asked if he was playing well enough to have a realistic chance of winning a Major championship, having contended strongly early on in last week's US Open.

"Let's try and have a good weekend here first and then we have the British Open coming up (next month) and if I can keep on building on this progress, hopefully, I can give myself some chances to win Majors," he said.

Coetzee, yet to win a European Tour title, lies 193rd in the world rankings but has been inspired by the achievements of compatriots and major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

"They came from the Sunshine Tour (in South Africa) like me and we all want to follow in their footsteps," he said of British Open champion Oosthuizen and US Masters winner Schwartzel.

BMW International Open,

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