Lawrie on form in Wales

By Brian Keogh

In-form Peter Lawrie hit route 66 to lie just one shot off the lead in the rain-delayed Celtic Manor Wales Open.

Tied for 12th at Wentworth last week, the Dubliner hit three birdies in a bogey-free effort to share 10th place on a packed leaderboard at the Roman Road course.

No fewer than nine players signed for four under par 65s on a day when two hours play were lost due to torrential afternoon rain.

And they included 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, the last European to win a major title and a player without a win since he triumphed at Celtic Manor in 2002.

Lawrie visited Carnoustie for a practice round on Monday and confessed that he can't wait to get back there for next month's Open.

The Scot said: "It's been spoken about for quite a while now, so I am kind of wishing that it would happen so we can get on with it.

"You can't beat having an Open an hour from your house, sleeping in your own bed."

Lawrie is tied for the lead with Steven O'Hara, Gary Orr, Steve Alker, Paul Broadhurst, Ricardo Gonzalez, Jose Manuel Lara, Soren Kjeldsen and Brettt Rumford.

But Dubliner Peter is just one off the pace after another solid round with Gary Murphy the next best of the Irish on one under after a 68.

Royal County Down's Simon Thornton came back from four over par after four holes to card a level par 69.

But it was a bad day for two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, last week's BMW PGA winner Anders Hansen and Scot Colin Montgomerie as they fired one over par 70s.

Wexford's Damien McGrane had just one birdie in a disappointing three over par 72.,

But it was even worse for struggling Ulsterman Graeme McDowell as he signed for a five over par 74.

The Portrush ace had two birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey and faces his second missed cut on the trot.