LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Paul Lawrie collected his lone claret jug because of the greatest meltdown in major championship history. When Jean van de Velde butchered the 18th hole at Carnousite in the 1999 British Open, Lawrie sent scribes hustling to research a man they knew little about.
Lawrie, 43, hasn’t played well in the Open since that victory 13 years ago. He’s missed six cuts and hasn’t finished better than a tie for 42nd place.
But this year has been different. The Scot won the Qatar Masters earlier this year on the EuropeanTour and he’s collected six top-10 finishes. He missed the cut last week at his beloved Scottish Open, but still felt good about his chances here and shot an opening-round 5-under 65 to sit one shot behind leader Adam Scott.
“Probably the strangest start of my career the first six holes,” Lawrie said. “I didn’t really hit many good shot and I was 3 under. Chipped in twice and holed it from off the green.”