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Lawrie Comes Up Big at Dunhill Links

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Paul Lawrie displayed shades of Costantino Rocca and Miguel Angel Martin Monday at the Old Course at St. Andrews, as the Scot poured in a closing-hole 40-foot birdie from the Valley of Sin to win the Dunhill Links Championship by one stroke over Ernie Els.
 
Lawries dramatic birdie set off an excited, fist-pumping dance and gave him a 68 for the day to end one clear at 18-under-par 270. It also gave him $800,000 and moved him into eighth on the Order of Merit.
 
I was trying to give myself a chance of a play-off at the last and making sure not to three-putt, said the surprised champion following his heroics.
 
The shot was truly reminiscent of the closing stages of last year's Alfred Dunhill Championship, when Martin holed a putt from nearly the same location which ultimately proved the winner for his Spanish team of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal.
 
It was also reminiscent of Roccas miracle-birdie at the 95 Open Championship, which put him into a playoff with eventual winner John Daly.
 
It was certainly not expected of Lawrie, however.
 
The 32-year-old had just bogied the par-4 17th to fall into a tie with Els for the lead at 17-under, and after his approach came up short of the green at the closing 18th and down into the deep and menacing 'Valley of Sin,' it seemed that he might just lose it on the last two holes.
 
But up he stepped and in the ball went, and Lawrie ran around the green in jubilance for claiming his first win since the 99 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
 
It's been a tough year for me, explained Lawrie. 'But now it's good. It doesn't get much better than to win at the Home of Golf.'
 
The week couldn't have been any more heartbreaking for Els, who also shot 68 on the day, and who also, incidentally, bogied the 17th and made a birdie-three at No. 18 to close at 17-under.
 
Like Lawrie was prior to this week, the South African star is still searching for his first win of the season.
 
Finishing behind Els was David Howell, who carded a 68 to end at 16-under, while Colin Montgomerie (67), Padraig Harrington (69), Paul Casey (70) and Peter OMalley (69) ended five shots off the winning score at 13-under.
 
While the Monday finish was required due to terribly inclement weather that plagued the event from the first day and lasted all the way until the end, chances are good that the first edition of this event will not be forgotten for some time.
 
Click Here for Full Field Scores from the Dunhill Links Championship.