Paul Lawrie expecting an incredible standard during Senior Open at Craigielaw

Paul Lawrie reckons fans heading to the Scottish Seniors Open at Craigielaw next month will be in for a surprise if they think golf’s golden oldies play “short and easy” courses.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 6:30 am
Paul Lawrie's ambition is to add the Senior Open title to his 1999 Open success

The two-time Ryder Cup player is making his debut in the event as it is staged at the East Lothian venue for the second year running, having produced a home winner in Gary Orr last year.

Lawrie is a new recruit to the senior ranks this season and admits he’s had his eyes opened by the quality of golf his over-50s colleagues produce week in, week out.

“People think that for seniors golf, the courses are short and easy and it’s nothing like that at all, honestly. In America, they play them off the far back tees and the scoring is really good.

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“I assumed when I saw the scores that these guys were shooting the last couple years that, ‘oh, they must play short courses’. It’s the opposite, honestly. They play them all the way back. The standard is incredible.”

Lawrie was speaking as he prepared for his debut in the Senior Open at Royal Lytham, where he is flying the Saltire along with Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle, Gary Orr, Andrew Crerar and Andrew Oldcorn.

“Just as I remember it, it’s just a magnificent golf course, and they’ve only got a couple of tees up,” he said of the Lancashire venue. “The second is up a wee bit, and there was one other tee that I noticed was the next tee up from the very back tee.”

Joining the 1999 Open champion in playing in the over-50s Claret Jug event for the first time are fellow major winners Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell.

“The field is very strong,” said Lawrie, who was effectively warming up for this event when he played in both the Scottish Open and The Open.

“My game is okay. It’s not great,” he added. “I had a year off with injury and surgery. It’s taken me a little bit longer to get back in than I thought it would. You don’t realise how long a year is until you actually kind of sit on your bum and don’t hit balls or don’t work out for a year, it takes its toll, so it’s going to take a bit of time.

“But slowly and surely I kind of feel as though I’m getting a little bit of that. Hopefully this week will be another week under my belt of getting some golf.

“I believe there’s not many that have won both the Open and the Senior Open, so to add my name to that list would be very special, and if it doesn’t happen this week, then I’ve got a few Senior Opens to try.”

Tartan Tour pro Crerar secured his spot in the star-studded field through one of the local qualifiers at Fairhaven on Monday.

“It’s brilliant,” said Crerar, a former PGA in Scotland captain. “I tried last year for the first time at Scotcraig, but didn’t get through and, luckily (laughing), I was able to get some time off after being 
successful on this occasion.

“It was looking like I was going to get straight in but then the wind dropped a bit. It was five or four for a long time then it was three then two and I managed to get through with a birdie after playing well in the play-off.

“I played in The Open in 95 and 97 at St Andrews and Troon. This a bonus, to be honest, as I’m not even a part-time player. I’ve only played two or three events this year.”