Relaxed Lawrie in the mood
THE JOHNNIE Walker Championship was afforded a fitting winner, in more ways than one. The Gleneagles crowd toasted Scottish success as Paul Lawrie endorsed his fine season with a four-shot victory. Lawrie’s second European Tour win of 2012 is also pertinent with the Ryder Cup in mind.
Nicolas Colsaerts arrived in Perthshire looking for the top-two spot that would have sealed a place in Jose Maria Olazabal’s European team for the meeting with the US next month.
Colsaerts was unable to achieve that but is expected, along with Ian Poulter, to be afforded the salvation of a pick from Olazabal back at Gleneagles today. For Lawrie, there is no need for Olazabal’s intervention. The 43-year-old’s career has undergone such an impressive renaissance that he will be a key and experienced part of the Europe team at Medinah. Lawrie’s last and only Ryder Cup appearance was in 1999. “I’m going into this one as confident as I was last time, I can’t wait,” Lawrie said. “It’s difficult to rank wins but this is obviously a huge one. I go into my second Ryder Cup playing nicely, hitting it lovely and looking forward to it.”
Olazabal has plenty cause for optimism as Europe’s defence of the Ryder Cup draws closer. Lawrie and Sergio Garcia now have winning form while Rory McIlroy cantered to a win in the US PGA Championship earlier this month where Poulter and Justin Rose also finished well.
Yet concern for Europe will emanate from the dismal touch of Martin Kaymer, who remains in the final automatic position. Olazabal will hope the Ryder Cup environment can somehow kickstart the talented German. “Once you have played one Ryder Cup you never want to miss another one,” said Kaymer, who opted to miss this Gleneagles tournament. Colsaerts carded a final round 72 to finish 10 adrift of Lawrie in a share of 19th place.
Brett Rumford finished second following his closing 68, four adrift of Lawrie with a three way tie for third involving Maarten Lafeber, Romain Wattel and Fredrik Andersson Hed.
Further cheer for Olazabal was provided by Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who signed off with a 67 for an aggregate of 10-under-par. Simon Thornton carded a 72 to finish best of the Irish, in joint 43rd spot, on one under par.
- Guardian Service