Lawrie wins, Day second in Qatar
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 Qatar Masters | Wrap | 06 Feb 2012
Thirteen years after his emphatic eight shot win at the 1999 Qatar Masters, Paul Lawrie has won the 2012 version by four shots over Australian Jason Day and Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
With the event shortened to 54 holes as a result of the blustery winds that swept across the Doha Golf Club’s layout earlier in the week, today’s final round turned into a sprint to the finish line.
Lawrie was a one shot leader as the event headed into its third and final round and an early birdie extended his lead.
Two groups ahead however Day was on a roll. Birdies at his opening four holes allowed the 24 year old to close within one of the leader although bogeys at the 6th and 9th would see him make the turn three behind.
Then came another birdie rush for Day when he birdied the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th and he was again within one.
Lawrie though would have something of his won left in the tank. He eagled the 9th then birdied the 11th, 14th, 16th and 17th and had the luxury of a four shot lead playing the par five last. A par there was good enough to secure the four shot win and the €316,000 first prize.
“You get a little bit older and you kind of lose focus but I actually feel the opposite,” Lawrie said. “I feel I’m getting better. I feel my ball striking has improved immensely since I turned 40. So it’s great to win.”
Day and Hanson each earned €164,000 for their second place finishes, Hanson’s strong finish of four under in his last five holes making a huge difference to his payday.
Day bounced back from a missed cut in Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last week indicating that effort was but an aberration in what is a rapidly building career amongst the elite of the game.
“I played great golf coming in. I just didn’t putt that great,” Day said. “I saw the leaderboard on 16 and I knew I had to birdie the last few holes. I just kind of ran out of steam there for a little.”
Lawrie has suffered a penalty during his second round when he dropped a ball on his coin and even though there was no real evidence of the coin moving he was obliged to take a one shot penalty. He was philosophical about the penalty.
“Well, there’s so many of them, it’s impossible to get the rules perfect. There are so many rules, but it’s one of those, I’m not getting an advantage even if the coin moved. I’m not trying to drop the ball on the coin. I’m not trying to do it. It’s just an accident.
“It’s like Poulter in Dubai last year, same thing. It’s just one of those many rules that could do with changing a little bit. I can’t see a player purposely throwing a ball on a coin to knock it closer to the hole. But it happens. So not much you can do."
Five months after his victory in 1999 Lawrie would go on to win the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Given the way he is playing at present, another great week at Royal Lytham & St Annes is not beyond him.
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