Lawrie keen to keep European roll going
Golf:After wins for Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia the last fortnight Paul Lawrie can make it three in a row for European Ryder Cup team members at Gleneagles tomorrow.
“It wasn’t long ago that the American team were playing better, no question, but the European boys have kicked on a bit,” said Lawrie, who takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
He is 12 under par, with France’s Romain Wattel 11 under and then fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher two further back.
The relief of returning to Europe’s side 13 years after his debut has been clear to see in Lawrie’s play this week.
“It’s been a lot easier for me,” the 43-year-old from Aberdeen added. “It would be huge to have two wins in a Ryder Cup year. I’d go in full of confidence and hopefully win some points.
“I’m not someone who gets stressed out an awful lot. There’s no one more calm than me, but I was desperate to get in and you can get back to working on what you should be working on - winning tournaments.”Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, meanwhile, needs a top-two finish to knock Martin Kaymer out of the last automatic spot on Jose Maria Olazabal’s side, but a one-under-par 71 has left him in joint 13th place.
It may not matter what he shoots in the final round, however. Unless Pádraig Harrington wins in America the big-hitting Colsaerts is the name on just about everyone’s lips as the expected choice to join Ian Poulter as a wild card.
Thomas Bjorn, one of the four assistant captains along with Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and now Miguel Angel Jimenez as well, had dinner with Olazabal on Friday night.
“I think he’s pretty much where he wants to be with the team,” said the Dane. “He’s pretty certain what he wants to do and there’s only a few people that can really rock the boat if they win the last tournament.
“We talked about a lot of things, including obviously Nicolas Colsaerts, but a lot of other players. I think he listened to all of us and he’s got to make a decision Monday morning.
“We can only give him information and say what we see out there. He’s pretty cool and he’s studied everybody down to the last detail. He knows what he wants to do and what team he wants to bring and that’s a good thing I think. He’s very much in good spirit about what he’s got.”
Colsaerts is prepared to be kept on tenterhooks for another day at least, however.
“I have no clue, you can look at so many different scenarios,” he said. “What I need to do is shoot the lowest round of my career.
“I’m thinking about it all the time. When you want something that much it’s difficult to avoid.”
He is aware of a wild card threat not only from Harrington across the Atlantic, despite Olazabal saying the Dubliner needs “at least a win”, but also in Scotland from Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, who could yet finish ahead of him on the points table.
Simon Thornton is the best of the Irish trio left in the tournament after his 71 left him on one under. Damien McGrane is one over after a 73, while Peter Lawrie could only manage a 76 and is back on four over.