Rollercoaster leaves Lawrie speechless

Rollercoaster leaves Lawrie speechless

Joy and relief would be one way to describe Peter Lawrie’s feelings as he finally achieved his first European Tour victory.

But the 34-year-old Dubliner came up with another after becoming Spanish Open champion in Seville – “pain and torture”.

Just two weeks after his room-mate Damien McGrane broke his Tour duck at the 169th time of trying, Lawrie tasted success at the 175th attempt.

Yet the two wins could not have been more different.

While McGrane won in China by nine – five strokes more than the next biggest margin of the season – Lawrie went through an amazing rollercoaster ride before he got his hands on the trophy and a cheque for more than £262,000 (€335,069).

Four behind with seven to play, the former Rookie of the Year produced four birdies to set the clubhouse target of 15 under par, then saw Ignacio Garrido make a closing 30-foot putt to tie.

The Spaniard pitched to three feet on the first hole of sudden death, but Lawrie made a “do-or-die” 25-footer for a matching birdie and then escaped from a fairway bunker on the next to grab the win after Garrido had spun his approach into the water.

“I’m lost for words, to be honest with you,” stated the Dubliner at the conclusion of the best week’s work of a Tour career that goes back to his debut appearance as an amateur 12 years ago.

“I’m not a party person, but I will enjoy this. Damien won so easily – he didn’t have to go through this pain and torture.”

With Darren Clarke having captured the Asian Open in between it was three Irish wins in a row.

“That spurs you on,” added Lawrie. “You play practice rounds with them and you think ’why can’t I do that?’, but it gives you self-belief.”

The closest he had come before was losing a play-off for the same event to England’s Kenneth Ferrie five years ago.

That was the season he collected the rookie award – after four failed attempts at the Tour qualifying school – but it did not provide lift-off in the way he hoped.

Lawrie, 56th on the money list that year, has still to finish in the top 50, but this victory has lifted him to the dizzy heights of 12th, immediately in front of Clarke and Open champion Padraig Harrington.

With Graeme McDowell fifth and McGrane seventh that is five Irish players in the top 14. England have only one in third-placed Lee Westwood, while there is no Scottish or Welsh presence in that elite bunch.

Spare a thought for Garrido, though. He has now finished second in his national championship three times and must wait another year to try once again to emulate his father Antonio’s victory in 1972.

They are only the second father-son combination to win Ryder Cup honours - Percy and Peter Alliss were the first – and if Ignacio had triumphed this weekend they would have become the first father and son to win the same tournament in European Tour history.

Garrido led by seven when he signed for a course-record 63 on Friday and was still three ahead with a round to go. But, as close as he came, he did not achieve what he set out to.

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