Lawrie beats jet-lag with scorching Seville finish

Castleknock's Peter Lawrie overcame jet-lag and a slow start to fire a superb 68 in the Spanish Open and set up a third successive Irish tour win.

The Dubliner, 34, bogeyed the second and third at Seville's Real Club de Golf but birdied the long-fourth and then scorched home in five-under par 31 thanks to three birdies and an eagle at the 16th.

Peter Lawrie

At four under par, Lawrie is tied for fifth place, just three shots behind Sweden's Martin Erlandsson, who shot a 65 to lead by a stroke from Spaniards Ignacio Garrido and Jordi Garcia.

Happy with his opener, late-starter Lawrie said: "Ten past two is always a funny time to play golf. It is always quite late and you don't know what to be doing in the morning time.

"Coming from Shanghai I am awake early so I had a lot of time to kill. I parred the first and bogeyed the next two and thought, 'What am I going to do now.'

"But I got my act together and hit a lot of good shots, holed a few few putts and came home in 31, which is always going to help any scorecard. 

"So 68, it was good today. As I said, it was a poor start but a good finish."

Darren Clarke also suffered with jet-lag as he carded a level par 72 but it was an average day for Paul McGinley, Gary Murphy and Gareth Maybin as they struggled to two over par 74s that left them outside the cut mark.

A 2.10 pm start felt like 9.10 pm Shangai time for Lawrie, who was delighted to finish so well and pleased that he made the decision to play in Spain.

He beamed: "It was almost time for bed! But I got my act together. I played nicely last week and tied for ninth and I always like to play three weeks in a row. 

"I feel like I get into a momentum and I have played well in the Spanish Open before with a third and a play-off finish. me and the Spanish Open get along, so I thought I had better come.

"It is our international schedule. It is hard to balance and you play when you have to play. Luckily enough I can afford to travel business class so it is not too bad. 

"It is nice here and I got home for a day to see the family. The course is brilliant. I was here three or four years ago when they were only starting but now the conditioning of the course is  wonderful, the greens are wonderful and the fairways are generous enough.
But you have got to hit them. If you miss them you have to chip it down the fairway. 

"Overall it is a good test of golf and condition-wise it is up there with the best in Spain. But it is a tough test and there are a lot of long par threes which are quite awkward. But we managed to play them in level par, which is pretty good. 

"It is not like me to get off to a good start in a tournament, so hopefully that's an omen."

The big names were left in the shade in sunny Spain with world No 345 Erlandsson topping the leaderboard thanks to a brilliant putting display.

Recently married Colin Montgomerie, returning after a five-week lay-off, hit back from two opening bogeys to shoot 70, but last week's winner Clarke had to settle for a 72 and American John Daly, on a two-week trip to Europe, could do no better than 75.

Montgomerie, with a target of two wins in the next two months to make his presence felt in the race for Ryder Cup places, said: "My job is to get back in the team and I am nowhere near yet."

Clarke, who ended two and a half years years without a victory in Shanghai on Sunday, blamed mental fatigue and one treacherous green for his score.

He said: "I didn't get much sleep again - last week took more out of me than I realised. Mentally, I was not at the races. The game's fine, but my head's tired - I made some poor decisions."

The green in question was the short 17th, where Clarke three-putted for bogey just after seeing Thomas Levet four-putt for a triple bogey six.

"It's like glass and it's on a hill. They've destroyed the green," said the Frenchman - winner himself of the Andalucian Open only five weeks ago - after dropping two more strokes on the last and signing for a 79.
Clarke added: "It's dead - just pathetic really."

Playing partner Daly has not had a top 10 finish for three years in crashing to 595th on the world rankings and the former Open champion felt like a broken record when he commented: "I hit it good, but putted bad again. It's the same stuff. I've had two years of this. I'm getting nothing out of it and it's frustrating."

McGinley needed two birdies in the last three holes just to return a 74 while Maybin, making his full European Tour debut, had to birdie his last two.

Kilkenny man Murphy, ranked 124th on the Order of Merit, bogeyed the 17th and 18th for his 74.

Erlandsson did not make the journey out to the Far East because he suffers so badly from jet-lag and that paid dividends when he grabbed seven birdies, finishing with three in a row.

The 34-year-old Malmo golfer needed four attempts to earn a Tour card and after 124 events is still searching for his first victory.

Garrido was a member of Europe's 1997 Ryder Cup side and won the Tour's PGA Championship five years ago, but he has had only six top-10 finishes since then.

Garcia, like famous namesake Sergio, is from Castellon and he eagled the 517-yard 13th in his 66.

Collated first-round scores (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):

65 Martin Erlandsson (Swe)

66 Ignacio Garrido (Spa), Jordi Garcia (Spa)

67 Gary Clark

68 Henrik Nystrom (Swe), Peter Whiteford, Soren Hansen (Den), Steven O'Hara, Peter Lawrie, Carlos Rodiles (Spa)

69 Robert Rock, Francois Delamontagne (Fra), Peter Baker, Alfredo Garcia (Spa), Manuel Quiros (Spa)

70 Matthew Millar (Aus), Jordi garcia Pinto (Spa), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Pedro Linhart (Spa), Lee Slattery, Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Peter Fowler (Aus), Colin Montgomerie, David Lynn, Marco Ruiz (Par), Stephen Gallacher, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Jose Manuel Carriles (Spa), Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Florian Praegant (Aut), Mark Foster, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe)

71 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Francis Valera (Spa), Juan Abbate (Arg), Gary Orr, Anton Haig (Rsa), Mads Vibe-Hastrup (Den), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Anthony Wall, Iain Pyman, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Jean-Francois Remesy (Fra), Klas Eriksson (Swe), Emanuele Canonica (Ita), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Gregory Havret (Fra)

72 Miguel Rodriguez (Arg), Birgir Hafthorsson (Ice), Steven Jeppesen (Swe), Simon Dyson, Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Marc Warren, Scott Barr (Aus), Jamie Donaldson, Niclas Fasth (Swe), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Miles Tunnicliff, Pablo Martin (Spa), Ian Garbutt, Craig Lee, Hennie Otto (Rsa), Alan McLean, Julio Zapata (Arg), Darren Clarke, Andrew McLardy (Rsa), Gary Lockerbie, Richard Finch, Tom Whitehouse, Thomas Aiken (Rsa)

73 Pelle Edberg (Swe), Danny Willett, Simon Wakefield, Magnus A Carlsson (Swe), Richard Bland, Steve Webster, Jan Are Larsen (Nor), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Sam Walker, Jamie McLeary, Gareth Paddison (Nzl), Mark Pilkington, Phillip Archer, Ariel Canete (Arg), Borja Etchart gonzalez (Spa), Benoit Teilleria (Fra), Philip Golding

74 Carlos Del Moral (Spa), Juan Quiros (Spa), Alvaro Velasco (Spa), Leif Westerberg (Swe), Per-Ulrik Johansson (Swe), Carlos Balmaseda (Spa), Peter Hanson (Swe), Alexander Noren (Swe), Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Santiago Luna (Spa), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa), Juan Parron (Spa), Joakim Backstrom (Swe), Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Jesus Maria Arruti (Spa), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Gareth Maybin, Maarten Lafeber (Ned), David Drysdale, Lee S James, David Dixon, Gary Murphy, James Kamte (Rsa), Paul McGinley

75 Pedro Erice ibanez (Spa), Garry Houston, Ulrich Van Den Berg (Rsa), Pablo Menjibar (Spa), Sion Bebb, Moises Cobo arrayas (Spa), John Daly (USA), Gary Boyd, Inigo Urquizu (Spa), Alessandro Tadini (Ita), Miguel Angel Martin (Spa), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Fredrik Widmark (Swe)

76 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Patrik Sjoland (Swe), Steve Alker (Nzl), Liam Bond, Robert Dinwiddie, Joakim Haeggman (Swe), Doug McGuigan, Stuart Manley, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Johan Edfors (Swe), Carl Suneson (Spa), Alvaro Salto (Spa)

77 Gabriel Canizares (Spa), Sven Struver (Ger), Marcel Siem (Ger), Kyron Sullivan, Jesus Legarrea (Spa), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus)

78 David Griffiths, Stephen Dodd, Alastair Forsyth, Gary Emerson

79 Andrew McArthur, Paul Waring, Ignacio Elvira mijares (Spa), Thomas Levet (Fra)

80 Benn Barham, Luis Claverie (Spa)

81 Rafael Echenique (Arg)

82 Paolo Terreni (Ita)

85 Mattias Eliasson (Swe)