Peter Lawrie admits he’s had sleepless night about his struggle to retain his European Tour card.
The Dubliner is 111th in the Race to Dubai ahead of this week’s Portugal Masters with the top 110 to keep their playing rights following next week’s Perth International in Australia.
Like Waterville’s David Higgins, who is 114th, Lawrie could solve all his problems with a top-20 finish at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura. But he insists he has only himself to blame for his situation having missed seven of his last eight cut and the last five in a row.
“It’s been horrendous and it’s all my own doing,” Lawrie said after a pro-am round with former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland centre half David O’Leary. “I’ve spent the last eight weeks looking over my shoulder, if you know what I mean.
“All I’ve needed to do is make a cut and have one decent week and what I’ve been doing is just missing by one shot and that was the cast at the KLM Open and the Italian Open.
“They are two golf courses right up my street and I kicked myself in the you know whats to play better but it just hasn’t happened.
“It’s all my own fault and there is no one else I can blame, so it’s up to myself to get out of it.”
Lawrie’s reliable fade has been missing for a while and a destructive block has seen him slip from the top echelons of the driving accuracy statistics for the past few years to 65th this season.
“I’ve been looking for that key for a while and just haven’t found it,” he said. “To be honest, I have challenged for tournaments and I’ve been in the mix quite a few times and I’ve been in the past on the bubble for the top-60 in Races to Dubai.
“I was talking to David (O’Leary) it today in the Pro-Am and he said there was a year when he was at Arsenal when they looked like getting relegated, and he said it was the most pressure he’s ever felt … and, honestly, this is the most pressure I’ve ever felt … ever.
“It’s up to myself to get my ass in gear and play decent golf.”
In other seasons, affiliate members who do not play the required 13 event minimum are removed from the final money list but the rules was changed last year and Lawrie will have little leeway this week.
“They’re going to change it [back] next year but it’s not going to suit me,” said Lawrie. “I can’t think just in terms of making the cut this week. I can’t afford to do that. My goal this week is to shoot four 69’s and do the same in Perth next week. That’s all I’m thinking about.”
Married with children, Lawrie might have won over €5m on tour but he admits that his struggles have taken their toll on him mentally. Has he been a difficult person to live with?
“I probably have, yeah. Sure it keeps you awake at night. Absolutely. I’ll give you an example. If you have one article to write that’ll keep you in a job for next year, are you going to write it no problem. When you’re trying to write something out without making a mistake … that’s the position I’m in.
“If I had got a break in the KLM Open or the Italian Open then we wouldn’t be having this conversation but I didn’t so that’s it.”
Higgins gave himself a chance to save his card by finishing second in the Italian Open two weeks ago. But he missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Links and knows he must produce the good this week.
Even if he does enough to retain his card in Portugal, the Kerryman plans to travel to Australia for the final event of the regular season. He appears confident that all will go well but whether or not he has the appetite for a possible 13th trip to the Q-School remains to be seen.
“I’ll fly back to Cork on Sunday night, drive to Dublin in the morning and then on to Australia via the UAE,” he said.
As for defending champion Shane Lowry, the Offaly man wants to build on last week’s third place finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links and push on in his bid to make the world’s top 50 and the 2014 Ryder Cup team.
He captured his second European Tour title 12 months ago – his first as a professional – and has continued to impress this season with five top ten finishes, including his share of third place in Scotland two weeks ago.
Lowry led on the back nine of the final round in St Andrews a fortnight ago, and despite not winning, he is taking the positives from another experience of being in contention.
“It’s just all about building experience and going from there,” said the 26 year old. “You learn to be comfortable when you see your name on the leaderboard on a Sunday afternoon. It’s hard to not get ahead of yourself and not think about winning.
“I gave myself a great chance. I’m playing quite well recently, so I’m coming here in good form and really looking forward to this week.
“I feel like I’ve been pushing to win tournaments this year, and I just learn from every week and one of these weeks when I give myself a chance, I’m sure I’ll pull it off.”
Ryder Cup stars Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari are in a star-studded field for the €2million event on the Algarve, as is Englishman Tom Lewis, who won the title two years ago on only his third start as a professional.