Sport Golf

Friday 20 April 2018

Lawrie tested by 'brutal' conditions

Mark Garrod

Former winner Paul Lawrie just avoided his worst ever score in The Open today as wind and rain turned Sandwich into a "brutal" test.

The Scot, having survived the cut with nothing to spare at three over, shot an 81 that included a visit to one of the most famous - and certainly one of the biggest - bunkers in world golf.

Unhappy about the tee on the 495-yard fourth being pushed forward only 26 yards because of the conditions, Lawrie hit his drive into the middle of the 40-foot high trap.

It led to a triple-bogey seven, but although he had another on the long 14th that was nowhere near the worst score there - France's Gregory Havret had a quintuple-bogey 10.

Lawrie, whose worst round in the championship was an 82 at St Andrews in last year's high winds, said: "That was fun!

"The Saturday at Muirfield in 2002 (the day Colin Montgomerie followed a 64 with an 84 and Tiger Woods shot 81) was worse than that, but now it's getting to that stage.

"I didn't play very good, but it was brutal.

"I thought the fourth tee was really poor. They could have gone 50 or 60 yards up minimum to give you a chance.

"There's only about two or three people in the whole field who can hit it 250 into a howling gale in pouring rain

"I necked it, but you're aiming in the left rough."

At least he avoided what happened to English Amateur finalist Reg Glading in the same bunker in 1979.

Glading's ball lodged itself near the top and under the lip of the bunker. He climbed the hill, took a swing at the ball and fell head over heels back down the slope.

Lawrie added: "A 76 or 77 would be a hell of a score, but it's not unplayable - Tom Watson played the first 10 in one under. Frightening.

"I think I went through six or seven pairs of gloves, four or five towels.

"I said to the crowd at the 15th that they were mental. I'm getting paid and have to be here, but they're not."

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