Lawrie Cruises To Wales Open Victory


Scotland's Paul Lawrie ran away from the field at The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open Sunday to win his fifth European title by five shots over John Bickerton of England.
He also picked up a little momentum heading into the PGA Championship this coming week, where he'll be looking for his second career major to go along with his 1999 British Open title.
Having to play 36 holes Sunday due to Friday's rain delays, Lawrie was up to the challenge and actually distanced himself from the rest of the pack.
It was nice to come back and win this time, said Lawrie, runner-up in last year's event. I played well last year and didnt win as I didnt putt well. This time I putted a lot better. The 65 in the second round was the key. When you are coming on and off the course because of the weather it is difficult to keep your focus and concentration but I did that very well. My ball striking was fantastic that day.'
Premium Video - Subscription Required More from Lawrie on his win.
After completing the third round early in the morning, Lawrie found himself five clear of the field by shooting a 2-under-par 70, as his closest rivals, Bickerton and Australia's Richard Green, both stumbled in with 1-over-par 73s.
The afternoon 18 saw more of the same, with Lawrie coming out strong and recording birdies on holes two, three and four to extend the lead and dash any hopes his challengers may have had in mounting a charge.
He closed with his second 2-under-par 70 of the day, and a four-day total of 16-under 272.
The victory was his first since last year's Dunhill Links Championship and vaulted him from 28th on the Order of Merit (money title) to 13th. It was his second top-10 of the season, following a second-place finish at the Smurfit European Open in July.
I will now go to the U.S. PGA and try my best. Im looking forward to going there with my game in good shape, he said.
Bickerton backed up his disappointing morning round of 73 with a solid 2-under-par 70 that put him alone in second place. It matched his best finish ever on the European Tour, along with his second place at the 2001 Madeira Open.
I was never going to catch Paul, said Bickerton. He was hot today and played lovely golf but it was nice to hang on at the end for second spot. Im delighted.
Finland's Mikko Ilonen came in a distant third, six shots back at 10-under 278. The third-place showing was his highest finish on tour.
That is certainly my best finish, he said. I really needed this and I pulled it off when I needed to. I was a couple under the last nine holes and 3-under the last 11. Didnt make any putts this week so I was pleased with the rest of my game and hopefully I can go on from here and secure my European Tour card.
Darren Clarke (-3), Ian Woosnam (+1), and Lee Westwood (-2) never threatened.
Last year's winner, Paul McGinley, tied for sixth at 6-under.
Full-field scores from The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open