Happy days at the Spanish Open

Peter Lawrie scorched to the lowest round of his European Tour career when he carded an eight-under 63 to climb from the cut line to tied seventh in the Omega European Masters at Crans Montana.

The 36-year old Dubliner made the one-under par cut on the mark thanks to a birdie at his 17th hole, the eighth.

It was one of the few putts he recalled holing over the first two days. But he made amends in the third round as he started with five pars before picking up eight birdies in his last 13 holes.

Still eight strokes behind Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez, who leads by three from his future Ryder Cup team mate Edoardo Molinari on 17-under, Lawrie said: “To be honest with you, I’ve played well on all three days. But I haven’t had the bounces, I haven’t had the breaks and certainly haven’t holed the putts like I did today.”

Foiled by Peter Hanson’s 20 foot birdie putt in a three man play-off for the Czech Open title two weeks ago, Lawrie explained: “I didn’t hole massive putts but I holed my fair share from 15 or 20 feet. For the previous two days I’d holed nothing really, other than one putt on the eighth hole, my 17th, which was pretty much to make the cut. So I’m delighted with 63.

“All in all, having just made the cut, getting into the top-ten is a good morning’s work.”

Jiménez and Molinari shot matching 68s, though the Spaniard was penalised a stroke for picking his ball up on the 10th because it was near a sprinkler head, but did not check if it was in the way and ended up putting the ball back in the same spot.

“It’s a pity,” said Jimenez, who shot a 61 on Friday to scorch into the lead. “I marked it and picked it up like it is preferred lies. Then I thought ‘what are you doing?’

“But I’m still feeling good. It’s very difficult to follow up a really low score. Anything you do looks like you are doing nothing.”

Darren Clarke is a shot behind Lawrie in tied 15th on six-under after a 68, a score matched by Gareth Mabyin, who is a shot further back in tied 29th.

Michael Hoey struggled to hit fairways and carded a 77 that left him tied for 70th in the 72-man field on four-over.