Mickelson method helps Lawie lead
Paul Lawrie is hoping that a putting devise that works for Masters champion Phil Mickelson works for him too.
Paul Lawrie is hoping that a putting devise that works for Masters champion Phil Mickelson works for him to as he seeks a first European Tour title in eight years at this week’s BMW Italian Open.
Former Open champion Lawrie has not tasted victory since the Wales Open in 2002, but was sixth in Spain last week after a bogey on the 72nd hole when a birdie would have got him into a play-off.
The 41-year-old from Aberdeen carried that good form into yesterday’s rain-delayed opening round in Turin, carding a five-under-par 67 to claim a share of the lead alongside the English duo of Graeme Storm and Robert Rock and Australia’s Marcus Fraser.
And he then revealed how a putting device used by Mickelson’s coach Dave Pelz was the secret of his success.
“I struggled a bit from tee to green but putted magnificently, holing three times from off the green from around 30ft,” Lawrie said after his round.
“I missed a couple of makeable ones on 14 and 18 but five under was a really good score as the conditions were a bit tougher than they had been in the morning.
“I had a lesson from my coach Adam Hunter the Monday before last and he noticed I was aiming left when putting.
“I’ve always done that, but it was further left than usual so he bought a Dave Pelz putting trainer online and sent it to me and I’ve started rolling it nicely.”
A two-hour delay on Thursday morning – caused by days of persistent rain – meant 18 of the 156-strong field were due back at Royal Park I Roveri on Friday morning to complete their opening rounds.
Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was spared that inconvenience, but the 46-year-old Scot was facing an uphill struggle to make the halfway cut after an opening 76.
Montgomerie was outscored by six shots by playing partner Matteo Manassero, the Italian teenager who turned professional this week following a superb amateur career which saw him win the British Amateur Championship in 2009, finish 13th in the Open at Turnberry a month later and then 36th in the Masters at Augusta last month.
“He was very impressive, to do that as a 17-year-old today,” Montgomerie said of a playing partner almost 30 years his junior.
“He has a good future ahead of him and I wish him all the best.
“My golf is non-explainable.”
Manassero added: “It was a good round, I played steady for 18 holes. I really liked how I played today. I was a little nervous, like always in big tournaments, but fortunately I’m getting used to it.
“I don’t want to rewind any part of my game. I didn’t putt that well but I didn’t have many chances so I like the way I played and hopefully it will stay like this.”
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