Lawrie Raises the Hopes of the Home Fans
Paul Lawrie was the star turn as he led Arnold Palmer’s team to victory in yesterday’s Champion Golfers' Challenge and he maintained that sort of form with a sparking six-under-par 66 in the first round of the Championship itself.
“I was incredibly cool to play with Palmer yesterday,” admitted the Scot who won the 1999 Championship at Carnoustie. “He hit two shots at the first and then didn’t hit any more but just to be out there with him was great. I loved every minute of it. (Darren) Clarke and I had a whale of a time playing with him and at the end he gave me a wee hug and said ‘well done’. That was a nice moment. It was pretty cool.”
Armed with that feelgood factor the 46 year-old Aberdonian attacked the Old Course with gusto carding five birdies in an outward half of 31 and adding another two coming home. His only blemish came at the 17TH where he drove into the left rough and then failed to get up-and-down.
“That’s almost a par-5 for me so I’m very pleased. I putted very well. I hit the ball solid and it was what it was.
“It’s always cool to play golf in Scotland in front of the best fans in the world,” he added. “They cheer all the players but, when you’re a Scot, you hear your name a little bit more. I’ve been lucky to have had a couple of decent wins in front of them so I’ve experienced it a fair bit. I tend to play a little better in front of them. I don’t feel more pressure. I feel the opposite in fact.”
Lawrie is well aware there is much golf to be played before he can even start to entertaining thoughts of replicating his previous victory at Carnoustie.
“I’m not even thinking about Sunday as of yet. Right now I’m thinking about lunch. I’m pretty hungry. It was good today but there’s a long way to go.”
The Scot is known as a fine bad weather player but he refuted suggestions he wanted the wind to blow. “I never think or wish for bad weather,” he confirmed. “I don’t think any golfer does, to be fair.
“I don’t wish for it but I know I’m ready for it when it comes. You’ve just got to play your game and do what you can do and shoot the best score you can shoot. There’s no point in getting upset or frustrated because that will only cost you shots.”