Sport Golf

Sunday 22 April 2018

Spanish spur for Lawrie

PETER LAWRIE will have good vibes and the best of company to spur him on at Real Golf Club de Seville today.

The Dubliner has been drawn with local hero Miguel Angel Jimenez and Costa del Sol specialist Soren Kjeldsen for the opening two rounds of the Open de Espana on the course where he won this prestigious title in 2008.

Lawrie put up a solid defence of his Spanish Open crown last year, finishing in a tie for third with Thomas Bjorn behind winner Thomas Levet in PGA de Catalunya in Girona.

Lawrie played in Seville 14 months ago when the Open de Andalucia was staged on Jose Maria Olazabal's masterpiece.

Returning from a month-long early-season break, the rusty Irishman missed the cut on that occasion as Kjeldsen romped to victory, the feisty Dane rattling-up a course-record 62 in the process.

Kjeldsen has won two of his three European Tour titles in Andalucia, including the showpiece Volvo Masters at Valderrama in 2008, while Jimenez, the famed 'Mechanic' from Malaga, knows where all the nuts and bolts go in Seville (and virtually every other course in the region).

So, don't be too surprised if Sunday's winner comes from the three-ball they form today, with Lawrie (36), who's relishing his return to this classy venue.

"It's a wonderful golf course that tests every part of your game," he said.

"You have to hit it straight and manoeuvre your iron shots as the pins positions are normally quite tight and close to water. You also have to putt well as normally the greens are very good there.

"We've played in some tough conditions in the last two weeks in China and Korea, so I think we are all looking forward to some nice weather in Spain," added Lawrie, one of seven Irishman playing this weekend along with Shane Lowry, Damien McGrane, Darren Clarke, Michael Hoey and Q-school graduates Gary Murphy and Simon Thornton.

Open de Espana,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 10.30

Irish Independent

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