The Open: Paul Lawrie takes advantage of late reprieve to shoot third-round 70
Last Updated: 21/07/13 11:50am
Paul Lawrie attracted an appreciative gallery for his early round of 70
Former champion Paul Lawrie shrugged off a 300-mile round trip to card a third round of 70 at Muirfield.
The 1999 Open winner drove home to Aberdeen on Friday afternoon as he was convinced rounds of 81 and 69 would not be enough to make the halfway cut on eight over par.
But with scores soaring, the 44-year-old found out on Friday evening that he had made the weekend right on the cut-line.
"I didn't think seven over had a chance, never mind eight, so I went home," the two-time Ryder Cup player explained. "I don't think I've ever done that before in my career and thankfully I was just up the road.
"I can't believe no-one from overseas went home at eight over. It just shows how tough the course is."
Lawrie, who was walking his dog when his son Craig texted to say the cut had drifted out to eight over, made the two-and-a-half-hour drive back to the course, arriving around 11:20pm.
"I didn't think seven over had a chance, never mind eight, so I went home. I don't think I've ever done that before in my career and thankfully I was just up the road."
"The good thing is you pay for your room (at Greywalls next to the course) for seven nights whether you use them or not so I had no problem getting my room," Lawrie added.
As for his performance after a round containing five birdies and four bogeys, he said: "The first day I just played terrible. I hit so many poor shots on a course set up as tough as this that you are not going to shoot anything else than what I shot.
"On Friday I played beautifully and today was the same, I just struggled a bit with the putter."
Lawrie's 70 was not the only low early score in relatively benign conditions at Muirfield, with Japan's Shingo Katayama and South African Richard Sterne recording rounds of 69 and 68 respectively in the first group out at 8:10am.
"I found it obviously a lot better today," Sterne said. "The greens were more receptive and the flag positions were a lot more accessible.
"It was going to get unplayable, if they didn't do anything about it. I'm glad they did otherwise I think it would have turned into a real disaster, to be honest.
"The greens were a little slower and more receptive, so they've definitely done a lot of watering there. There's a couple of tricky ones (pin positions) if you miss them in the wrong position. But 15 is fine today. Yesterday was a bit of a joke, to be honest."