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Lawrie leads fighting Irish

SIX fighting Irishmen survived a day of attrition at Wentworth, where Peter Lawrie has high hopes of clinching a second European Tour victory after breezing into the weekend on seven-under-par, just five behind leader James Morrison (27), a Surrey local who shot 64.

Dubliner Lawrie (38) is playing so well, he expressed "disappointment" with the 71 which kept him in contention, insisting: "I gave myself a lot of chances but didn't really hole anything."

Belfast's Gareth Maybin sang a similar refrain after the 70 which lifted him into the top 20 alongside David Higgins on four-under.

Drawing deep on a lifetime's experience in Waterville and 14 visits to this championship, Higgins (40) flew his ball below the tree-tops to beat a wicked wind.

Paul McGinley also put his ring craft and encyclopaedic knowledge of Wentworth to good use as he posted a 71 to ease through on even-par -- one shot behind Meath man Damien McGrane (72).

Ireland's other survivor (on one-over) is Shane Lowry, also an accomplished wind player judging by his stunning victory as an amateur at the 2009 Irish Open.

However, like Lawrie and Maybin, the Clara man must cope better with Wentworth's infamous greens than he did during yesterday's 74.

Irish Independent