PAUL Lawrie goes above and beyond the call of duty to help fellow Scottish players but he’ll never let any of them beat him unless they have truly earned those bragging rights.
For the second time in three months, the Aberdonian is heading into the final round of an event that is part of the new Paul Lawrie Foundation Pro Series out in front in Portugal.
A winner already at Pestana Vila Sol in December, Lawrie holds a three-shot cushion with a round to play at Penina, where he followed an opening 68 with a 70 to sit on eight-under-par.
The 1999 Open champion had moved to 11-under for the tournament after picking up birdies at the first, fourth, fifth, tenth, 14th and 15th holes before running up a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 16th.
After partly repairing that damage with a birdie at the penultimate hole, Lawrie said: “So far I have hit it really good and putted nicely. I should have been better today as the 7 was the result of the only poor shots either day.”
Leading the chase is Neil Fenwick, whose four-under 69 was the best second-day effort, with Greig Hutcheon (73) two shots further back, followed by David Law (71) and Greg McBain (73) both on one-under.
“Penina has been a brilliant venue – all the boys are loving the course, range and the hotel – while the weather has been perfect with just a slight breeze each day and 22 degrees,” added Lawrie. “Warm weather competitive events is something we’re keen to continue.”
On the evidence so far this week, Lawrie will be trying his hardest to come out on top when the new Saltire Energy-sponsored match play event bearing his name takes place on the European Tour at Murcar Links at the end of July.
Elsewhere, two former amateur stars had contrasting days as the Tshwane Open reached the halfway stage at Pretoria Country Club. Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, the 2010 British Boys’ champion, flirted with the European Tour’s first 59 before signing for a 62 as he took a two-shot lead over South African Merrick Bremner.
However, the misery continued for Italian Matteo Manassero as the 2009 Amateur champion missed his fifth cut in a row after a brace of 75s.
There were also early exits for Chris Doak, Richie Ramsay and David Drysdale, but Craig Lee (68) is tied for 13th on five-under while four birdies in his last five holes – for a 69 and one-under – also kept Scott Jamieson around for the weekend.
From a seven-strong starting Scottish contingent, only Pamela Pretswell and Vikki Laing achieved that feat in the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills in China. As world No 2 Inbee Park fired a second successive 69 to lead by one from England’s Holly Clyburn (65) at the halfway mark, Pretswell (72) moved up into a share of tenth on one-under while Laing is tied for 22nd after the same second-round score left her on one-over. Scotland’s representatives in the team event – Sally Watson and Kylie Walker – both crashed out on 12-over.