Lawrie and Harrington planning ahead

Padraig Harrington and Peter Lawrie plan to come out with all guns blazing in 2009.

The Dubliners got off to a solid start in the megabucks Race to Dubai when they tied for 11th place behind new world No 2 Sergio Garcia in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

But the former Irish amateur champions can’t wait to start their winter breaks so they can hit even higher notes in the New Year.

Triple Major winner Harrington will wrap up his season in this week's Barclays Singapore Open before heading home to work on a swing change he hopes will help him win more Majors.

And after breaking his tour duck in the Spanish Open this year, Lawrie began a two-month break yesterday and set his sights on improving his work rate and his power game so that he can trade fire with the new generation of young guns on tour.

Boosted by a late eagle three and a closing 68 at Sheshan International, Harrington said: “I struggled a little bit at times this week and did nothing particularly well. But that’s because I am working on something in my swing. I am in between swings and that’s catching me out at times.

“I am always working on things and I still want to try to be competitive at the same time. But at the moment I am only halfway through with what I am trying to do and that does a little bit to your confidence at times.”

Following this week’s Singapore Open, Harrington will have eight weeks off to groove his new swing before re-appearing in the Abu Dhabi Championship from January 15-18.

And he will be joined there by Lawrie, who is also determined to use the next two months to revolutionise his approach to the game.

The younger guys out here are physically fitter and stronger and you can’t continue to hit it just 270 or 280 yards anymore. Peter Lawrie

Pleased with is performance in Shanghai but disappointed not to push on after winning the Spanish Open in April, Lawrie is determined to get the maximum out of his game in 2009.

Concerned by his lack of power and fitness, Lawrie said: “The younger guys out here are physically fitter and stronger and you can’t continue to hit it just 270 or 280 yards anymore. I’m hitting it fairly straight off the tee these days, so I’m okay in that regard but when it comes to playing it out of deep rough, they’re killing me.

“It’s a case of managing my time better. I am away a lot but when I am at home, I make sure I have quality time with my wife and two young girls. That certainly is not going to change. It’s a case of trying to better use the time I have for my golf."

“If I can improve the physical, then that will have a corresponding effect on the mental side of my game. It’s something I’ve noticed, playing for a number of weeks and then feeling tired, running out of strength."

As for his performance in the first official event of the 2009 schedule, Lawrie was pleased to close with a 68 and join Harrington and Paul Casey on seven-under par.

While winner Garcia had 17 birdies and an eagle before beating Oliver Wilson with a birdie at the second extra hole, Lawrie had 22 birdies during the week.

He said: “I have no complaints with the way I played because I hit the ball awesome. I bet I made as many birdies as anyone in the field but I also had a few lapses of concentration.

“Dropping those five shots in seven holes at the start of the second round on Saturday really cost me my chances in this tournament.

“But I cannot complain at the way I performed because a lot of those birdies came from hitting the ball really close.”

Harrington will be joined in Singapore this week by Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy while Graeme McDowell will spend the week in Phuket working on his fitness before playing Hong Kong and the Omega Mission Hills World Cup with Paul McGinley.

Tied for 16th with Damien McGrane on four-under, McDowell said: “I struggled on the greens all week – and was only average at best. If I could bottled the way I played on Saturday when I shot 65 I would have had a very good chance of a win.

“Shooting 76 on Sunday took me out of the tournament and after that it was tough to get my mojo going.

“Obviously I am disappointed not to have finished higher, but I was still in the top 20 and picked up a few world ranking points. If I can do that in one of my bad weeks, things can't be that bad.”