Lawrie keen for big pay day

The Scots, who won the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999, is behind the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play event, which will make its European Tour debut on July 30 at the Murcar Links Golf Club.

As things stand, Lawrie will not qualify for his own tournament, which is a straight 64-man knockout event, although he will play on a sponsor’s invite if he fails to make it into the field via his performance at St Andrews this week.

His quest for a second Open title started well with seven birdies in his first 13 holes taking him into the lead, but a single dropped shot at the 17th meant a round of 66, one stroke off the pace set by Dustin Johnson.

“I think I might get in if I win this week. Maybe it’s too late, I don’t??know,” he said. “As I stand I need to invite myself to my own tournament, which I will do, obviously.

“We announced John Daly as an invite on Monday and we’re all very excited??about that, and the second invite will be me as it stands.

“It’s only the first round so there’s a long way to go. There’s an??unbelievable amount of world-class players playing this week so I’m not even??thinking about Sunday as of yet. Right now I’m thinking about my lunch. I’m pretty hungry.”

Conditions on Thursday morning were as good as the players can probably expect all tournament, and Lawrie admitted it was vital to take full advantage with scoring so low.??

But despite him having tasted Open success in tricky conditions 16 summers ago, Lawrie is not sure it will benefit him for the weekend to turn into a survival of the fittest.

“Obviously it was quite calmish this morning, so it’s important to take??advantage of those conditions if you can,” added Lawrie, who joined Arnold Palmer, Bill Rogers and Darren Clarke to win the Champion Golfers’ Challenge on Wednesday.

“I have actually won tournaments in nice weather, not just bad weather, so it??doesn’t matter what comes. I don’t wish for it.

“But when it does come there’s not much you can do about it, you’ve just got??to play your game and do what you can do and shoot the best score you can??shoot. Getting upset about it or getting frustrated about the weather is going to??cost you shots.”