Paul Lawrie is looking to bridge a 13-year gap as he goes into the final round of the Qatar Masters with a one-stroke lead.
Augusta return in the wings if leader Lawrie holds out
DOHA // Paul Lawrie is looking to bridge a 13-year gap as he goes into the final round of the Qatar Masters today with a one-stroke lead.
Lawrie was the second winner of the title in 1999 - and followed it by becoming the British Open champion at Carnoustie that July.
Now, in an event cut to 54 holes because of strong winds, the 43-year-old Scot stands eight-under par after a second-round 67, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium is second, one shot back.
Lawrie's round yesterday included a one-stroke penalty on the 10th green after he dropped his ball on his marker - amazingly for the second week running.
"I'd never done it in my life, 20 years on Tour. But last week in Abu Dhabi I was lucky because my caddie saw it and said the marker never moved," he told Sky Sports. "This time I wasn't sure and [senior referee] Andy McFee said I had to be 100 per cent sure.
"I wasn't watching and you guys didn't have it on the telecast, so you've got to take the penalty and kick on."
It meant a five rather than a birdie there, but he picked up shots on the 11th, 16th and long 18th, where he chipped to five feet.
The added incentive for Lawrie, currently 78th in the rankings, is that victory would lift him not only into the 64-man field for the Accenture World Match Play in Arizona later this month, but also back into the top 50 and in with a great chance of earning a return to The Masters in April.
He last played at Augusta in 2004.