Paul Lawrie followed in the footsteps of some of golf’s greats as he picked up a prestigious award in London yesterday, when he was hailed as “a credit to the PGA, the European Tour and the wider game of golf”.
The Aberdonian received the PGA Recognition Award at the annual fundraising lunch at the Grosvenor House Hotel, marking a career that began as an assistant to the late Doug Smart at Banchory, saw him become an Open champion and now giving so much back to the game through his junior Foundation and support of young professionals.
“I’m honoured to receive the PGA’s Recognition Award as I’m proud to be a member of the Association,” said Lawrie after the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and current Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke on the roll of honour.
“I started my career as an assistant at Banchory, training under Doug Smart, and learned skills that I still put in to practise today. It means a great deal that the work that my wife Marian and I have done building the Foundation to the level it is at today is being recognised by the PGA, alongside my playing career.”
Sandy Jones, PGA chief executive, said he was “delighted” to see Lawrie being honoured in such a way. He added: “Having known Paul since he was a young PGA assistant, I know how hard he has worked to scale the heights of the game and no-one deserves their success more than him.
“What is even more remarkable is his determination and dedication to give something back to the sport through the Paul Lawrie Foundation. He is a credit to the PGA, the European Tour and the wider game of golf.”
Another award winner yesterday was Rory McIlroy. Hot on the heels of being voted as the European Tour Player of the Year, he has joined Seve Ballesteros and Lee Westwood as the only players to win the Golf Writers’ Trophy three times. “When you think of the contributions that Seve and Lee made to European golf over the years, I am delighted to be linked with them at such an early age, and clearly I’m hoping to do enough to win the AGW trophy in future years as well,” said McIlroy.
On the women’s front, Kelsey MacDonald posted a five-under-par 67 to share the lead after the opening round of the LET Qualifyng School in Morocco.
“I was obviously disappointed that I didn’t hang on to my card last week ,” said MacDonald of falling just five spots short in that brave last-gasp bid in Dubai. “But I came out and had a great round today. It’s about taking my game from last week on to this week and I just kept giving myself chances today.”
Alyson McKechin (70) and Gemma Dryburgh (71) also broke par but Jane Turner and Michele Thomson had to settle for 76 and 77 respectively.