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Friday, 19 March 2010
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Two  (Getty Images)
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Two (Getty Images)

Paul Lawrie has a chance to achieve something at The Johnnie Walker Championship at The Gleneagles Hotel which has even eluded Tiger Woods so far.

 

Only two players - David J Russell in 1992 and Jesper Parnevik three years later - have ever gone through an event in The European Tour without dropping a stroke.

 

Woods failed to join them on the very last hole of the 2002 World Golf Championships - American Express World Championship at Mount Juliet Golf & Spa Hotel in Ireland, but Lawrie is halfway there after adding a 69 to his opening 67 at The Gleneagles Hotel.

 

The 40 year old former winner of The Open Championship, stands eight under par and now leads by two from Northern Ireland rookie Jonathan Caldwell, Dutchman Maarten Lafeber and big hitting Argentinian Daniel Vancsik.

 

"I wasn't in trouble a lot, but when I had to I obviously kept the round going, which you have to do when you have no bogeys," said Lawrie after doubling his first day advantage.

 

"I've been prone to the odd hook in my career and I've certainly got rid of that the last couple of days.

 

"I missed a few putts, but I'm very pleased with the way I hit it again. Overall you're not going to grumble, but I'm a golfer and you always grumble!"

 

Lafeber, in the group just two shots back from Lawrie, expressed a modicum of disappointment with his position.

 

This sounds weird but could have shot a lot lower,” said Lafeber. “I hardly missed a shot and I just hit one mediocre shot, a poor tee shot on nine.

 

Apart from that, I had so many putts, and I missed a four footer on the second for birdie.”

 

Vancsik won the BMW Italian Open in May, while Lafeber's only title on The European Tour came in his home country six years ago.

 

Vancsik admitted consistency would be key if he were to challenge Lawrie’s lead through the rest of the weekend.

 

“I'm hitting the ball much better now, but in Italy my putter was working well and I was making every one.

 

“Maybe if I have patient and my putting is working well this weekend, I'll have a chance. I was really lucky in the draw.  Yesterday was perfect to play and today there was just a little bit of breeze but not too much.  I think it's good luck.

 

One fellow competitor certainly impressed by Lawrie's display - and it was mutual - was playing partner Jose Maria Olazabal.

 

Olazabal is in a tie for fifth with Ryder Cup Dane Soren Hansen, Indian Shiv Kapur and France's Gregory Bourdy.

 

Olazabal was delighted with his own efforts, especially five birdies in the first six holes, given that he is suffering more problems with rheumatism.

 

"I have a little bit of pain here and there, especially when I wake up in the morning," he said. "You have to take it slow and give yourself more time to try to loosen up.

 

"Hitting shots my body is not moving as freely and I can't practise as much as I need to, but I have to live with that for the time being."

 

However, Lawrie said: "His iron play is just outstanding and he's the best we've got on this tour at making pars from a poor tee shot.

 

"There's no question about that and it's a pleasure to see him playing, never mind playing well."

 

England's Danny Willett, another member of the Walker Cup team two years ago, would have been alongside them but finished with a bogey six - like Lafeber and Hansen.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HEDBLOM, PeterSWE18-13
2ERLANDSSON, MartinSWE18-12
T3LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-10
T3HAVRET, GrégoryFRA18-10
5ORR, GarySCO18-9
T6KAPUR, ShivIND18-8
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