Paul Lawrie shot a smooth round of 65 to win the Qatar Masters for the second time with a four-shot win over Jason Day and Peter Hanson at the Doha Golf Club on Sunday. This flawless performance, a last round of 65 for a total of – 15 under par, elevates ‘Chippy’ into the worlds top 50 for the first time since 2003. Just a year ago the 1999 Open champion was down at 272nd in the rankings, now he is part of golf’s elite group again. Chippy said after his last round;
“I don’t think I can play much better than that, I’ve been playing well for a long, long time, but it’s just nice to come out one ahead and shoot seven under.’When you’ve got a chance to win a tournament you don’t sleep as well the night before and things go racing through your mind. You’ve got to get back to basics and I did that. I hit some nice shots coming in.”
When he was prompted that after his last Qatar Masters win he then went on to win the Open and raise the Claret Jug in 1999 he smiled and said;
“Now wouldn’t that be nice to get that again?’
The Ryder Cup question was asked;
“I’ve been trying to keep that to the back of my mind. If I keep playing as I am I will get in, there’s no question, but there’s a long way to go and I know as well as anyone that there are a lot of good players.”
American John Daly finished in 4th position at -9 under par, his best finish since 2009 and his 2nd place in the Italian Open.
Paul Lawrie shoots a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts into the final round of the Qatar Masters in Doha. He had to recover from a penalty for the silly mistake of dropping his ball on a marker, but still managed to lead the field at the end of play at -8 under par for the 54 hole tournament. Paul said of his round;
“I played very good again, hitting it beautifully tee to green. Anytime you play as solidly as that and hit a few putts in there it’s a fair chance you are going to play well.”
The ball dropping incident was a similar mistake to that made by Ian Poulter during a two-way playoff at the Dubai World Championship in 2010, when his penalty essentially gave the win to Robert Karlsson of Sweden. Lawrie seemed a little bemused by the ruling, commenting;
“I didn’t see it and no one else saw it so you have to take the penalty and kind of kick on. It’s one of these freak, stupid rules, it’s like Poulter in Dubai, the same thing. It’s one of those many rules that could do with changing a wee bit.”
Nicolas Colsaerts is just one shot back and feeling very comfortable with his game;
“I am playing very well even though I think I could have hit closer to some flags. “I managed quite well, kept the ball in play and didn’t do anything stupid.”
John Daly, the clubhouse leader when play was suspended struggled all day and finished tied for 17th place at -4 under par. He was pretty philosophical about his days play;
“I didn’t hit the tee-balls as good as I did Thursday. But I hung in there. Some of those bogeys I made could have been doubles or triples just as easy.”
45mph gusts of wind meant less than three hours’ play was possible on the second day of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the competition has now been reduced to 54 holes. David Probyn, tournament director, announced that the sponsors did not want the event to extend into Monday and the second leg of The European Tour’s Middle East swing has now been cut to 54 holes.
“The course is still on the verge of playable, but there’s no point sending the guys out for an hour or two on a marginal course. The winds will be down a notch tomorrow and decreasing during the day, while the forecast for Sunday is for much calmer conditions.”
Play is scheduled to resume at 8.45am tomorrow and the aim is to complete the second round by the end of the day and then stage the third round on Sunday.
Fernandez-Castaño, the first round leader reported;
“It was windy when we went out and I had a few birdie chances, but then I bogeyed two holes into the wind. I hope tomorrow I can take advantage of the remaining ten holes I have. I didn’t have any balls moving, but certain shots you could hardly keep balanced. Being selfish I’m quite happy play was called off.”
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Getty Images)
As things stand, John Daly is top of the leaderboard, and he has yet to even start his second round but in these conditions anything could happen, so it really is anyone’s tournament. I will keep you posted.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had to endure a windy desert storm to snatch the lead by one shot from John Daly on the opening day of the Qatar Masters in Doha. He leads major winner American John Daly, who earlier had returned to form with a five-under-par 67. Gonzo birdied four of the last five holes in shooting a brilliant 66, for total of six under par.
John Daly surprised even himself with his effort in the windy conditions, he said:
“It’s one of the best rounds I’ve ever played in a wind like that. You feel like you are eating a lot of sand , it was brutal. I’m pretty shocked myself. I had five and a half weeks off and really didn’t touch a club much.”
QATAR MASTERS, DOHA – LEADERBOARD
- -6: G Fernandez-Castano (Spa)
- -5: J Daly (USA)
- -4: KJ Choi (Kor), J Day (Aus)
- Selected Others: -3: D Willett (Eng), P Lawrie (Sco), R Finch
- -1:Lee Westwood (Eng), S Khan (Eng)
- Par: S Garcia (Spa)
- +7: T Bjorn (Den)