Lawrie turns back the clock

Paul Lawrie has revived memories of his greatest year in golf with a second-round 66 at the Qatar Masters.

Paul Lawrie today revived memories of his greatest year in golf with a second-round 66 at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha.
The eight-birdie display gave the 42-year-old Scot a share of the early halfway lead on four under par with South African Thomas Aiken, but last week’s winner Paul Casey looked to be heading out of the event at five over after a 75.
Lawrie will always be remembered for capturing the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, but he also won this event that season and now he is hoping the same course will see him end nine years without a title.
It was far less windy than on the opening day and the Aberdeen player moved up 33 places despite dropping shots at the 429-yard 12th and long first.
“It’s always nice to come back to places where you’ve won – I’m comfortable on it,” said Lawrie, now only 244th in the world.
“I was solid tee to green and I putted particularly well.”
Aiken, yet to win a European Tour event, added a bogey-free 69 to his initial 71, but that was all while overnight leader Retief Goosen was waiting to tee off again. And when he did a birdie on the opening hole made it a three-way tie.
Defending champion Robert Karlsson then joined them by picking up shots at the second and third, and Austrian Markus Brier moved to four under as well with three birdies in his first seven holes.
At least Casey kept a lid on any frustration he felt about his performance – unlike his former Ryder Cup team-mate Henrik Stenson.
The Swede, winner of the title in 2006, roared into contention by turning in 31 but came home in 42, and en route to a quadruple nine at his final hole flung a wedge over his shoulder into the lake behind.
Stenson looked certain to make an early exit on six over par, but Casey had to wait to discover his fate on five over. He probably needed the wind to pick up again to stand a chance.
World number two Martin Kaymer needed a big improvement on his first day 77 to survive to the weekend and a 70 for three over was probably going to be just enough.
But Kaymer, the runaway winner in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, was still a long way off the second place he required to have a chance of taking the number one spot off Lee Westwood.
As for Westwood himself, he was another late starter and he slipped to two over with an opening-bogey six.