Wednesday 29 March 2017

Lawrie suffers mixed emotions

William S Callahan

PETER LAWRIE dropped more cash than most of us earn in a year by leaving a 10-foot putt fractionally short on his 72nd hole at the Volvo China Open.

Had he converted that birdie chance at the last, Lawrie would have banked €233,964 by finishing alone in the runner-up spot behind winner Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.

Instead, the 37-year-old Dubliner wound up in a four-way tie for second place worth €140,085. That's a whopping €93,878 difference.

Or around 12,000 packets of Pampers ... Lawrie is trying to "build up a cushion (on Tour) so I can take time off in May when my wife, Philippa, gives birth to our fourth child".

In truth, pros don't think of the ones that get away in such crude financial terms. To do so would put them on a fast track to the funny farm.

Yet Lawrie made no effort to conceal his disappointment with a day that might easily have yielded a long-awaited second European Tour victory to go with his breakthrough win in the Spanish Open three years ago.

"Today was very pleasing and very disappointing," he admitted shortly after signing for a final-round 68, which left him in a tie on 20-under with Soren Kjeldsen (66), Danny Lee (65) and Pablo Martin (63).

"I got it around quite nicely but didn't play as well as I had been on the first three days," added Lawrie, who had served notice of his intent at Luxehills International by playing the first 36 holes in a bogey-free 12-under par.

Yet Lawrie's hopes of putting any real pressure on overnight leader Colsaerts were frustrated on the front nine as the Dubliner grappled with his own game.

Scrappy

"Starting the day two off the lead, some of my play was scrappy," he said. "I drove into a bunker at the sixth and then had a shot spin back into water. I found water again at the seventh, but in both cases battled back to save par."

Colsaerts went through the turn four ahead of playing companion Lawrie, but the Belgian (28) still appeared to get a little tight as he headed into the back nine with the prospect of a first European Tour win on the line.

At this point, Lawrie made a couple of decent birdie chances for himself at 10 and 11 but failed to convert either, letting another opportunity slip after hitting a lovely four-iron in to seven feet at the 225-yard 12th.

The contest effectively ended on that hole as Colsaerts, settled by a sweet six-iron of his own to eight feet, then holed the putt. The Belgian picked up two more shots at 14 and 15 on his way to a cool 66, while Lawrie rallied with three birdies in four holes from the 13th.

Whatever frustration Lawrie encountered at the last was eased by the form he had shown over four days in Chengdu, where he made just two bogeys in 72 holes (both on Saturday). At this rate, he should be able to build up quite a nice nest egg before the stork arrives.

Gareth Maybin hoisted himself into a tie for 10th place and a cheque for €36,639 with a final-round 67. Damien McGrane, meanwhile, posted a third successive 68 to claim a share of 22nd (and €22,531) on 14-under.

Michael Hoey signed off in spectacular style, a birdie-eagle finish lifting him into a tie for 52nd (€7,400).

Finally, Shane Lowry banked the first few bob (€5,685) in this season's bid to retain the European Tour card he earned with his victory as an amateur at the 2009 Irish Open. "Onwards ever upwards. Four-under today wasn't bad, considering the putter was ice-cold," Lowry tweeted.

Irish Independent

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