Scotland’s Paul Lawrie was today hoping to take another step closer to a remarkable golfing double as the 141st Open Championship continued at Royal Lytham.
Thirteen years after coming from ten shots behind going into the final round to win the Open at Carnoustie, Lawrie found himself in contention to lift the Claret Jug for a second time.
An opening five-under-par 67 – which featured two chip-ins for birdie in the space of three holes – gave the 43-year-old a share of second place overnight, just one shot behind world No. 13 Adam Scott.
And while winning another major title would be a massive achievement in itself – especially after a best finish of 42nd in 12 Open appearances since Carnoustie – it would also seal a return to the Ryder Cup 13 years after the so-called ‘Battle of Brookline’.
Lawrie claimed three and a half points in Europe’s narrow defeat and would love to experience the contest again, especially after playing alongside US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love yesterday and today.
“We spoke a little bit about the Ryder Cup and how he was looking forward to being the captain, and it’s a huge honour for him,” said Lawrie.
“Obviously I’ve got a little bit of work to do before that (Ryder Cup qualification) happens. There’s still four to five weeks to go and I’m not a guarantee yet so I need to finish off this week and play as well as I can, and hopefully I can play against his team.”
Lawrie won the Qatar Masters earlier this season and was joint second in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth behind world No. 1 Luke Donald, but missed the cut in last week’s Scottish Open in Inverness after a “horrific” putting display.
Lawrie shared second place with former Masters champion Zach Johnson and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts on a leaderboard that also featured Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in joint sixth on three under.