Saturday 24 March 2018

Lawrie 'lost for words' after ending title famine

Bernie McGuire in Malaga

Scotland's Paul Lawrie is rarely lost for words, but he was struggling straight after ending a nine-year winless drought in capturing the Andalucian Open.

The 42-year-old former British Open winner carded a final-round 70 to win by a stroke with a 12-under-par tally in sunny but windy conditions.

Despite a two-putt bogey from four feet at the last, Lawrie held on to defeat Sweden's Johan Edfors, who carded a 68 for an 11-under-par total, and Chilean Felipe Aguilar (68) who finished on 10-under.

Dubliner Paul McGinley, the only Irish player to make the cut on the Mediterranean shoreline course, sank under the weight of four bogeys and a double-bogey in a 75 and slumped to a share of 45th spot on level par.

Lawrie's last victory was at the 2002 Wales Open and since then he has had five seconds.

"Nine years is a hell of a long time and you have periods where you think it is not going to happen again, but here we are and it's really nice," he said.

"But to be fair, I am stuck for words and that's not like me.

"So, given it has been such a long time since I last won on Tour, this win is huge. It's absolutely massive for me.

"The Open Championship (1999) and the Dunhill Links (2001) would go ahead of this win, but this win would be next on the list of my six wins now on Tour.

"So it's a huge thing to happen to me and hopefully the confidence will kick on."

Lawrie earned a E166,660 first-prize cheque along with a new watch and a round-the-world ticket by sponsors Turkish Airlines.


But Lawrie's only concern yesterday was getting the heavyweight trophy home to Aberdeen given South African Louis Oosthuizen had the same trophy taken off him on a flight to Manchester last year with airline staff ridiculously deeming it a security risk.

The top of the Race to Dubai money list remains unchanged with Rory McIlroy still the leading Irishman in 10th position with Graeme McDowell dropping a place to 18th and being replaced by Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin who shared fourth spot a week after winning in Sicily.

McGinley will remain in Spain before joining a charter flight later today to Agadir in Morocco to begin preparations for Thursday's Hassan 11 Trophy.

Irish Independent

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