Lawrie Seals Second Spot in Dubai Finale
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie finished his European Tour campaign on a high after coming second in the Dubai World Championship, pocketing over £500,000 for his troubles and moving into the top 20 of the Race to Dubai end-of-season standings.
The Aberdonian, the 1999 Open winner at Carnoustie and a Ryder Cyp player in the same year, trailed by two shots overnight to Alvaro Quiros but led by one going into the back nine after a thrilling five-under-par burst to the turn.
After also playing the last nine holes in 31 on Saturday afternoon, Lawrie had effectively played 18 holes in 62 shots to lead the world-class field.
But a bogey at the 12th cost him dear, allowing Quiros to regain the initiative and the Spaniard eventually achieved a two-stroke victory in style with an eagle on the par-5 18th.
Lawrie, however, holed an important putt on the last himself, rolling in a birdie from 12 feet for a 67 to secure the runners-up spot on his own and cap a superb week over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Finishing at 17 under par, it was Lawrie’s second round 73 that ultimately hurt his hopes.
The 42-year-old, who in March ended nine years without a win on the main circuit thanks to success at the Open de Andalucia, leapt from 56th in the Race to Dubai rankings to 18th, banking a cool £983,000 in 2011. Certainly a fine year's work from Lawrie, whose achievement is all the more impressive given the recent passing of his long-time coach and great friend, Adam Hunter.
England’s Luke Donald was third in the event, thereby creating a remarkable piece of history by becoming the first player to top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.
When Rory McIlroy failed to win in Dubai - he finished joint 11th - Donald knew he had added The European Tour's Race to Dubai money list title to the PGA Tour crown he won in the USA.
The 34-year-old, ranked World No 1 with McIlroy No 2, even birdied the last three holes for a second successive 66 to set up a grandstand finish, only for Quiros to seal a notable double of his own after taking the Dubai Desert Classic in February.
"I got off to a bit of a ropey start with ball striking but thankfully the putter was hot on the front nine," said Paul, on his personal website. "I bogeyed the 12th hole again which gave Alvaro a lift as I hadn't looked like making a bogey.
Of the two other Scots in Dubai, Richie Ramsay finished tied for 42nd place after a disappointing final round 75. The Aberdonian came 28th overall in the order of merit rankings - booking his place at The Open next summer - and the former US Amateur champion can look back on a highly productive year.
Glaswegian Scott Jamieson, meanwhile, shared 54th and ended his rookie season on The European Tour in a creditable 59th place.