Lawrie targets quality over quantity in 2007

By Brian Keogh

Marathon man Peter Lawrie plans to swap quantity for quality as he chases his maiden European Tour victory this season.

The Castleknock Golf Club professional has criss-crossed the globe several times since he became the first Irish winner of the “Rookie of the Year” gong in 2003.

But after racking up an amazing 122 European Tour appearances over the past four years, Lawrie hopes to pick and choose his starts more carefully in 2007.

And if all goes well, he reckons he will get his share of chances to grab that elusive first victory and move up to a new level.

As he prepared to jet out to the Middle East for next week's Abu Dhabi Championship, Lawrie confessed that he was physically exhausted by his exploits last term.

He admitted: "I took an extended break this year because I was pretty drained last season trying to mix having a new baby and golf together.

"It was quite difficult, I have to say and I was very tired so I decided to take a complete break and it's only been in the last couple of weeks that I have got back into the practice routine with my coach Brendan McDaid.

"Last year I probably got my schedule a little but wrong and played too much at the start of the season and I got tired in the latter half of the year.

"I am possibly not going to play as much golf this year and just try and concentrate on the events that I play well in.

"It is going to be quality rather quantity this year I think after having the opportunity to play as much golf as I wanted last season.

"But with a young baby now I want to be at home with her and my wife as much as possible. That's the plan anyway."

Baby Jessica is blissfully unaware that her Daddy has racked up just under €1.5 million in European Tour earnings since 2003.

And Lawrie, who turns 33 in March, is hoping that he can grab that elusive maiden victory before she celebrates her second birthday in the autumn.

He explained: "I had a chance to win my first tournament on the European Tour down in the Canaries in my rookie year in 2003 but Kenny Ferrie beat myself and Peter Hedblom in a play-off.

"I'm still waiting to get over the winning line but mentally I don't think that my self-belief has waned at all. In fact, I think it makes me more determined to win.

"When the opportunity comes along, hopefully I will be able to get the job done. I have been in that situation enough now to understand what needs to be done.

"I was in the final group of the KLM Open with Damien McGrane last year but I just didn't hole the putts to be honest.

"But I will just keep on knocking at the door because I know that one day it will open.

"I know I have a lot more to give in my game, especially in terms of confidence. But results breed confidence so it is a bit of a Catch 22."

While he's not the longest off the tee, Lawrie hits more fairways that most and makes up for his mistakes with a solid short game.

So it's no surprise that he has decided to continue his club and ball deal with Japanese manufacturers Srixon for a third season as he bids to improve on a career-best of 53rd on the Order of Merit in 2005.

He said: "Myself and Henrik Stenson are the only two Srixon players on the tour this year and I really appreciate their loyalty to me.

"This is my third year with them and I been playing the Srixon ball as well since I signed with them so it has turned out to be a very successful combination for me.

"Their technology is second to none so I am very happy with the equipment I am using and here's hoping it all goes well for me again this year.

"I have little goals at the back of my mind but I am just planning to give it as good an effort as I can and whatever happens, happens.

"I am going to practice as hard as I can and I am not going to worry about goals just yet."

Lawrie will get his campaign underway alongside Padraig Harrington in next week's Abu Dhabi Championship but is still unsure of whether or not he will get a place in the Commericalbank Qatar Masters, due to the large number of Asian Tour players entitled to play in the co-sanctioned event.

The loss of sponsors O2 over the winter months is only a minor blow and if Lawrie finally grabs that elusive win in 2007, big money backers will be queuing up to get their name on his cap.