• Paul Lawrie shoots six-under-par 66 for a share of second
• The 1999 champ was inspired by time with Arnold Palmer
• Tweak to his putter helped him to record just 25 putts all day
PAUL LAWRIE | THE OPEN
Inspired by his time with Arnold Palmer at the Champion Golfers Challenge on Wednesday, Paul Lawrie found his touch with the putter to shoot a six-under-par 66 on day one at St Andrews.
The 1999 champion joined Palmer, Darren Clarke and Bill Rogers in the four-hole challenge which took in holes one, two, 17 and 18 of the Old Course, and the Scot was clearly motivated by the experience as he ended the first round just one shot behind leader Dustin Johnson.
"He gave me a wee hug when I holed my putt at 18" - Paul Lawrie
“It was unbelievably cool,” said Lawrie. “To be out there with him - I absolutely loved it and Clarkey and I had a whale of a time. He gave me a wee hug when I holed my putt at 18 and said 'fantastic playing'. That was a nice moment for me."
A birdie at the second hole sent Lawrie on his way and by the time he reached the turn, he was five-under after four birdies in five holes from the fifth to the ninth.
Back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 briefly gave the Scot the outright lead on seven-under-par and it looked like the odds would be in his favour after a miraculous par save on the 14th. However, he was one of the Road Hole’s many victims, dropping his only shot of the day to finish among a cluster of six players on six-under-par.
“It was quite calm this morning so it was important to take advantage of those conditions,” said Paul Lawrie. “I’m very pleased. I putted well and hit the ball very solid.”
Lawrie bemoaned his poor putting at the Scottish Open as the main reason why he wasn’t in contention for the tournament and he revealed that a tweak to his setup resulted in him needing just 25 putts for his round – bettered only by Padraig Harrington.
“I’ve got a different grip on my putter,” he said. “I’ve gone to a Super Stroke grip which everyone seems to be using or trying. I just thought I’d do something a little bit different because I’ve been playing nicely but not making any putts.
“Pretty much every chance I had today I took which hasn’t happened for a wee while, and it’s amazing when you knock a few putts in how easy the game is.”
Paul Lawrie :: He couldn’t, could he?
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