DOHA, Qatar – Paul Lawrie benefited from a putting tip off a friend in shooting a 6-under 66 at the Qatar Masters, giving the former British Open champion a one-shot lead after the second round on Thursday.
The 47-year-old Lawrie followed up a first-round 67 to move to 11-under par, a stroke clear of Nicolas Colsaerts (68).
Lawrie missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last week and was given some putting advice from fellow Scottish player Marc Warren, who said Lawrie’s stroke was too long and slow.
“I’ve been working on it the last couple of days and certainly feels as though I’ve got it,” said Lawrie, who rolled in seven birdies on Thursday and has 13 in all this week as he bids to win the event for a third time.
Joint first-round leaders Louis Oosthuizen (73) and Pablo Larrazabal (72) dropped off the leaderboard, while Sergio Garcia was in a five-way tie for sixth place after a 66 that included a long putt for birdie on No. 8. It prompted Garcia to dance a jig of delight on the green.
“I don’t know if they were dance moves. They were like jabs,” said Garcia, the 2014 champion. “When we got to the ninth tee, I said to my caddie and to the guys, ‘I think that celebration is going to look a little bit funny on TV.'”
Matthew Fitzpatrick, Stephen Gallacher, and Matteo Manassero were among those to miss the cut.
Lawrie is making his 16th appearance in Qatar. He won the event in 1999 and 2012, before going on to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup the same year.
Lawrie went out in the morning and avoided the worst of the windy conditions. Starting on the back nine, he birdied Nos. 10 and 12 and responded to a bogey at No. 15 by picking up more shots on the 16th and 18th holes. More birdies came on the fourth, seventh and ninth holes.
“I got a little frustrated after No. 15 because I thought, ‘You are not taking advantage of the conditions,'” Lawrie said.
Canada’s Mike Weir shot a 76 Friday for a two-day total of 149 (+5). He’ll miss the cut for a second straight week.