Lawrie lands title after nine year wait

3/27/2011 5:09:01 PM
Paul Lawrie  (Getty Images)
Paul Lawrie (Getty Images)

Paul Lawrie achieved his first European Tour win since 2002 - the first leg of what he hoped would be a notable double for Scottish golf.

The 42 year old former Open Champion took the Open de Andalucía de Golf by Turkish Airlines in Malaga by one from Swede Johan Edfors just as compatriot Martin Laird prepared to tee off again with a two stroke lead in America.

With six runners-up finishes since his last victory Lawrie must have feared it was going to be another near miss when, from one ahead overnight, he bogeyed the first two holes and England's Mark Foster birdied them.

But, in a repeat of what happened at last year's Open de España, Foster could not hold onto a three shot lead.

Lawrie, despite dropping another stroke at the fifth, turned things round by starting the back nine with four birdies in five holes.

And the six-time European Tour winner – his fifth title came 232 events ago - could even afford a closing bogey to win with a level par 70 and 12 under total of 268.

"It's been a long time - 2002 seems a hell of a time ago," he said. "I've had a few second places in there, but all of a sudden we're there again.

"It was going pear-shaped a little bit, but you've just got to keep going - that's all you can do.

"I played lovely and the putter behaved better. I got on a nice run at the right time.

“I started hitting beautiful shots on the back nine. I birdied ten, 11 and 12, and then did a great up and down on 14 for birdie just at the right moment.

“I must say that I felt under control even when I was above par at the start, and when you get into that attitude good things happen.

“I’ve always been a good putter, but these last years I couldn’t get it into the hole. This week they went in.”

Edfors was left to rue a three-putt bogey on the 15th after he had drawn level three times, but with a 68 he pushed Chilean Felipe Aguilar into third spot.

Foster, who like Lawrie was chasing his first victory in more than 200 European Tour starts going back in his case to 2003, slipped back into a tie for fourth.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Ferrie, who equalled The European Tour record with his 60 in the third round, crashed back to earth with a bump as a 75 sent him tumbling down to joint 11th.

It was not a finish Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara will want to think about for too long either.

Tied for third with a hole to go and still in with a chance if Lawrie made a mess of the difficult 18th, he went out of bounds with his approach and ran up a triple-bogey seven.

A 14 footer at the tenth was the turning point for Lawrie. He followed it with a 25 foot putt and chipped close on both the 12th and 14th, the two par fives on the Parador course.

To his immense relief it did not matter that he missed from under three feet in between those last two birdies or that he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the last.