Lawrie off to a flier in Munich as Murphy makes his mark

PETER LAWRIE and Gary Murphy carded respective rounds of 66 and 70 with Lawrie ending the day just two strokes off the lead with a six-under par 66 in the opening round of the BMW International Open yesterday.

The British pair of Scotland’s Peter Whiteford and Welshman Bradley Dredge head the field after recording eight under par 64s at the Munchen Eichenried course.

Lawrie capped his round by picking up four strokes in a three-hole stretch courtesy of birdies at the eighth and 10th holes along with eagle at his ninth, rolling in a 15-foot putt.

“I played lovely and managed to get up-and-down plus I chipped it stone dead three times and that always helps,” he said. “The eagle got me to four under and then I got to six under with two birdies coming in so I am delighted with a 66.”

However while a second Tour win is high on Lawrie’s agenda, so too is a place in next month’s British Open at St Andrew’s. For the past two years Lawrie has failed to qualify at Final Qualifying and Lawrie is again targeting a tee time at the Home of Golf.

Lawrie needs to either secure victory or be among the leading five players, who are not already exempt, at either next week’s French Open or the following week’s Scottish Open.

“St Andrews has always been in my mind including missing out by a stroke at Sunningdale for two years running now,” he said. “I know what I have to do either in France or Loch Lomond so hopefully I can manage to pull it off as I missed the cut at St Andrews five years ago and I would dearly love to be going back.”

Murphy’s focus remains a first and long-overdue Tour success but also a place in next month’s Irish Open.

Of the dozen Irish-born players holding Tour cards this year, Murphy remains the only player without an invitation to compete at Killarney.

“I sent off an email about a week ago asking for an invitation but to date, I’ve heard nothing,” said Murphy after carding a two-under par 70 on day one of the BMW International Open in Munich.

“I am not going to qualify off my category so I am relying on an invitation. Any player, whether they are Irish, French, Scottish or Australian, wants to be able to play in his own national open and I’m no exception.

“I’m hopeful the invite will come through so fingers crossed.”

Murphy has contested 12 Irish Opens since his debut at Mt. Juliet in 1994 with a best finish of third in 2008 behind England’s Richard Finch at Adare Manor. However he lost his card at the end of last season before going to Spain to win back full Tour membership.

Unfortunately, this season he has made just three halfway cuts from his 15 events with a best of 43rd in both the South African Open and the recent Estoril Open. He is currently lying 247th on the Race to Dubai money list and further down in 595th on the world rankings.

“I have not played at Killarney since the 1993 Barton Shield when my friend’s ball disappeared into the lake down the side of the first,” Murphy laughed.

“We got beaten in the semi-final at the 19th and I haven’t been back since and I don’t think he has either.”

Simon Thornton finished a stroke behind Lawrie, the Newcastle-based pro needing just 25 putts in his round helped by a decision to go with a ‘two-thumb’ grip on his putter.

“When I am standing over the putts now I feel like I can hole them,” he said. “But it was a great start to birdie one, two and three so I am very pleased with a 67.”

Michael Hoey was lucky not to incur a two-shot penalty after his actions at the par four 16th.

Hoey’s drive found a hazard but in walking in past the hazard line he lazily brushed his club on grass.

He eventually took a triple bogey seven but before signing for an eventual 71 Hoey sought a ruling on his actions at 16 but was informed he would only have been penalised two strokes had he grounded his club or in any way leaned on it.

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