Host Paul Lawrie to face old foe Romain Wattel

Paul Lawrie faces Romain Wattel in the first round at Murcar Links. Picture: Michael Gillen
Paul Lawrie faces Romain Wattel in the first round at Murcar Links. Picture: Michael Gillen
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TOURNAMENT host Paul Lawrie will face a player with a winning pedigree in Scotland while Richie Ramsay is up against an old foe in the first round of the Saltire Energy Matchplay at Murcar Links tomorrow.

Frenchman Romain Wattel, who won the 2010 Scottish Open Stroke-Play Championship at Glasgow Gailes, stands between Lawrie and a place in the last 32 after yesterday’s draw for the £710,000 event.

“I have a very tough match against Romain, who is one of those young players who has and continues to build a very good reputation on tour,” said the Aberdonian of his opening assignment. “I actually played the final round with him when I won at Gleneagles in 2012 and he is a great kid and a very good player.”

Lawrie, who was present alongside Saltire Energy chief executive Mike Loggie at the draw, is looking forward to playing host in the fully-fledged European Tour event. “I just can’t wait to get going,” he added. “It’s shaping up to be a great week and all the players I have spoken to are excited about playing match play over a great links course. That, in my opinion, is the truest form of the game and I think it’s a nice refreshing change for the tour pros to come to Scotland and play man against man in a straight knockout. There are some great first round matches with a lot of experienced players taking on the new generation of Tour players, so hopefully the old boys can take a few scalps.”

Ramsay, the course record holder at Murcar Links with an eight-under-par 62, faces India’s Shiv Kapur, the player he beat in a play-off to claim his maiden European Tour title with victory in the 2009 South African Open.

Marc Warren, the second seed, is up against Englishman Richard Bland, Chris Doak takes on Anthony Wall in an another ‘Auld Enemy’ clash, Scott Jamieson faces South African Thomas Aiken and David Drysdale has big-hitting Belgian Thomas 
Pieters to contend with.

In other eye-catching ties, former European No 1 Robert Karlsson takes on Australian Marcus Fraser, top seed James Morrison takes on Swede Pelle Edberg and American John Daly faces Spain’s Jorge Campillo.

Urging people to get behind the event, Lawrie said: “I think this week and this tournament gives the people of Aberdeen first and foremost the chance to come along to the golf and see some amazing players up close and personal.

“When we were looking at the ticket pricing, myself and Mike [Loggie] were very keen to keep the prices down and have managed to do that. It’s £15 a day from Thursday and that is a cracking price to pay to see some world-class golfers playing a great links course. Hopefully the local community will continue their amazing support and come along and see some great players doing their thing.”

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