x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Paul Lawrie targets Qatar Masters treble

The 42-year-old Scotman credits his victory in Doha this year as being the catalyst for best ever season, he also won the tournament in 1999.

Paul Lawrie. Pawan Singh / The National
Paul Lawrie. Pawan Singh / The National

Paul Lawrie is targeting a hat-trick of Qatar Masters after confirming he will try to defend his title in next month's tournament.

The Scotsman won the event at Doha Golf Club last February for a second time after previously prevailing in 1999.

The 43 year old said: "It's a tournament I enjoy, where I've not only won twice but had a lot of good finishes.

"It'll be my third event of 2013 so I should be game sharp, more than I would be if it was my first event."

Lawrie will head to the event after competing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, with the tournament in Doha running between January 23 and 26.

"I know the course well, as we've played there many times," the 1999 British Open champion said.

"I look forward to going back, but there are very few people who go to tournaments and successfully defend. Obviously you go there with good feelings, but sometimes that holds you back a wee bit, makes it harder to win again."

As to the secret of his past form in Qatar, Lawrie said: "I just like playing in Doha. It's 'linksy', it's windy, you've got to knock the ball down, you've got to think a wee bit more. It's not just stand up and give it a 'batter'.

"I enjoy it that way. You've got to play the ball, shape the ball a wee bit, which is unusual these days.

"You don't have to do that very often, but Qatar's got that. It's always breezy, but even though it's windy, scoring's always good because there are chances and the greens are firm, which we like. But you've got to keep the ball down."

Lawrie credited his success in this year's event for being the catalyst for a strong year which culminated in being part of the European team that retained the Ryder Cup in the United States in September, and hopes he can continue that in 2013.

"I think consistency wise, 2012 has been my best season," he said.

"I've been top 10 in about a third of the events I've played in, had two wins.

"I've played lovely this year. At 43, I feel as though I'm getting better, as though my game's improving. Things are in good shape."