New-look Lawrie in front
Blast from the past Paul Lawrie leads the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles after the opening day.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, whose 10-year European Tour exemption for winning The Open ends this season, leads the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles after the opening day.
Lawrie, 97th on the money list and needing to be in the top 115 in November to save his card, scored a five-under-par 67 as he began his latest bid for a first victory since the 2002 Wales Open.
The 40-year-old, still Great Britain’s last winner of a major title, goes into the second round one ahead of a group which includes his fellow Scot Steven O’Hara and defending champion Gregory Havret.
It was a bad day, though, for two other European Tour stars of the past, Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn.
Ryder Cup captain Montgomerie lost two balls as he slumped to a 76 – he could now miss a fourth successive cut for the first time in his European Tour career – while Bjorn crashed to an 82.
This is the Dane’s first event since the start of last month. He has been suffering from dizziness and extreme fatigue and even underwent a brain scan during his lay-off.
“I’m just feeling out of sorts, but that was a bit worse than I thought it would be,” Bjorn said before going off for a drug test.
Lawrie did not drop a stroke all day and the highlight was a 40-foot putt for an eagle on the long ninth.
At The Open last month he sought help from Padraig Harrington’s coach Bob Torrance and since then has made the journey from Aberdeen to Largs – three hours each way – five or six times.
“And I hate driving,” Lawrie said. “I looked into hiring a helicopter, but it was £2,000 for the trip and I thought that was too much.
“I get up at 4.30am to avoid the Glasgow traffic and be there for 7.30am and then we have four and a half hours hitting balls before I go home.
“The first time I saw him, Bob said he didn’t see it as a major overhaul, but David Leadbetter once said that swing changes take 10,000 balls or 10,000 hours – I can’t remember which.
“I didn’t do what we worked on the first time I played. He didn’t give me a talking-to, but said we are a team and we have to work this out together.
“I’m hitting more balls and swinging in my room to get the feeling and it feels fantastic.
“It’s been too long since I won. I’ve always wanted to work with him, but it’s never been been the right time. I think it’s the right time now.”
All the first round scores in the European tour Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles, The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland.
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
67 Paul Lawrie
68 Ake Nilsson (Rsa), Wade Ormsby (Aus), Steven O’Hara, Gregory Havret (Fra)
69 Christian Cevaer (Fra), Shiv Kapur (Ind), Soren Hansen (Den), Alan McLean, Gareth Maybin, Danny Willett, Graeme Storm, Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Anthony Wall, Alexander Noren (Swe), Matthew Millar (Aus), Jamie Donaldson
70 Patrik Sjoland (Swe), Andrew Coltart, Simon Khan, Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), John E Morgan, Michael Jonzon (Swe), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Santiago Luna (Spa), Marcus Fraser (Aus)
71 Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Richie Ramsay, Mikko Ilonen (Fin), David Howell, Scott Arnold (Aus), Klas Eriksson (Swe), Stephen Leaney (Aus), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Danny Lee (Nzl), Callum Macaulay, Phillip Archer, Chapchai Nirat (Tha), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Mark Foster, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind)
72 Jonathan Caldwell, Joakim Haeggman (Swe), Damien McGrane, Birgir Hafthorsson (Ice), Pelle Edberg (Swe), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor), Michael Curtain (Aus), Pablo Martin (Spa), Richard Bland, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Gary Lockerbie, Alexandre Rocha (Bra), Taco Remkes (Ned), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Paul McGinley, Christopher Doak
73 Gary Orr, Joost Luiten (Ned), Oliver Wilson, David Orr, Wil Besseling (Ned), Alessandro Tadini (Ita), Stephen Dodd, Sam Little, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra), Francois Delamontagne (Fra), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), Mark Brown (Nzl), Paul Broadhurst, Lee Slattery, Gary Murphy, Richard Finch, Inder Van Weerelt (Ned)
74 David Carter, Zane Scotland, Martin Erlandsson (Swe), Michael Campbell (Nzl), James Kingston (Rsa), Mads Vibe-Hastrup (Den), Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind), John Bickerton, Jorge Campillo (Spa), Andrew Marshall, Shane Lowry, Alastair Forsyth, Richard Green (Aus), Ignacio Garrido (Spa), Ross McGowan
75 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (Spa), Rafael Echenique (Arg), Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Niclas Fasth (Swe), Bradley Dredge, Craig Lee, Marcel Siem (Ger), Phillip Price, Scott Drummond, Paul Mckechnie, Seve Benson, Jamie McLeary, Sam Walker, David Drysdale, Marco Ruiz (Par), Tano Goya (Arg)
76 Robert Dinwiddie, Sion Bebb, Peter Lawrie, Simon Dyson, Simon Wakefield, Stephen Gray, Marc Warren, Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Stuart Davis, Colin Montgomerie, David Horsey, Stuart Manley, David Lynn, Kane Webber (Aus), Brett Rumford (Aus), David Dixon, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Emanuele Canonica (Ita), Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe), Barry Lane, Peter O’Malley (Aus)
77 Carlos Del Moral (Spa), Alvaro Velasco (Spa), Benn Barham, Greig Hutcheon, Iain Pyman, Marcus Higley, Chris Kelly, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Miles Tunnicliff
78 Roope Kakko (Fin), John Mellor, Oliver Fisher
79 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Jeppe Huldahl (Den), Branden Grace (Rsa)
80 Chris Russell, Edward Thomson, Marc Cayeux (Zim)
81 Scott Barr (Aus), Jason McCreadie
82 Ulrich Van Den Berg (Rsa), Thomas Bjorn (Den)
83 Robert Arnott
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