Lawrie leads in Sicily
Irishman sets new course record to lead by one
Last Updated: 29/03/12 6:42pm
Peter Lawrie: Practice paid off ahead of Sicilian Open
Ireland's Peter Lawrie as he carded a course-record 64 to claim the lead after the first round of the Sicilian Open.
Lawrie recorded nine birdies and just one bogey at Verdura Golf and Spa Resort to finish eight under par, one ahead of Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Argentina's Tano Goya.
GB & Ire unless stated
-8 P Lawrie
-7 S Kjeldsen (Den)
-7 J Donaldson
-7 T Goya (Arg)
The 38-year-old Dubliner missed the cut in last week's Hassan Trophy after rounds of 69 and 76, but bounced back in style as he looks to add to his sole European Tour title at the Spanish Open in 2008.
"I'm delighted after last week," Lawrie told Sky Sports. "I got it to four or five under and unfortunately played 12 holes in five over on Saturday and walked off the golf course devastated.
"But I came here and really practised hard over the last couple of days and I'm delighted that I actually holed a few putts today.
"It's forgiving off the tee here I have to admit, but the design is very good and the ball is running on the fairways so it makes us short hitters have some good chances.
"The closing holes you can make a few birdies but you just have to watch that 18th hole, it's a daunting tee shot. The water is certainly in your mind when you tee off."
Lawrie saved par from 10 feet on the 18th after finding a greenside bunker with his approach to the 475-yard par four, with his only bogey of the day coming on the 13th.
And asked about his approach for the rest of the tournament, he added: "Just keep on plodding away.
"You can't win a tournament on Thursday as they always say but you can lose it. I'm not going to get ahead of myself.
"I'm out early tomorrow, which is good for me, I'll try to post a number and let everyone shoot at it tomorrow afternoon."
Kjeldsen had earlier set the clubhouse target with a 65 containing an eagle, six birdies and one bogey, while Donaldson - aiming for his first European Tour success at the 249th attempt - matched it with a flawless effort featuring five birdies and an eagle.
The 36-year-old is certainly in low-scoring form after firing three eagles in a closing 61 to finish third in the Hassan Trophy on Sunday.
There were contrasting fortunes for John Daly and Costantino Rocca, with the duo who fought out a play-off for the 1995 Open title paired together here.
The American enjoyed the better day with a one-under round of 71, while Rocca shot a five-over-par 77.
Eighteen-year-old Matteo Manassero, at 61 the highest-ranked player in the field, carded a 72.