Golf: Brilliant year earns Paul Lawrie highest ever European Tour ranking

Paul Lawrie has shot up the rankings this year. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Paul Lawrie has shot up the rankings this year. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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LESS than two years after he’d slipped to 244th in the standings, Paul Lawrie has received a timely boost ahead of his Ryder Cup return in Chicago next week by securing his highest-ever position in the world rankings.

The Aberdonian, who started the year in 83rd spot before chalking up two wins on the European Tour this season, is up to 27th, rising two spots from last week even though he didn’t play in the Italian Open. It marks another career milestone for 43-year-old Lawrie, who became the Scottish No 1 for the first time when he climbed above US-based Martin Laird in the rankings earlier in the year.

Laird is 42nd in the latest rankings, 17 spots above Richie Ramsay, but the spotlight is on Lawrie as he prepares to represent Europe again in the Ryder Cup after an absence of 13 years.

While a number of his European team-mates, and all 12 of the American side, play later this week in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the Scot is hosting the Paul Lawrie Invitational, a 54-hole event at Deeside designed to allow emerging talents to play alongside experienced players. Six amateurs, including Lawrie’s oldest son, Craig, are in the 65-strong field, as is Graeme Brown, the Scottish Young Professionals champion.

“It’s fantastic that Paul’s build-up to the showpiece event of the year includes playing at Deeside,” said Michael MacDougall, secretary of the PGA in Scotland. “I think everyone would have understood if he felt that his attention should be elsewhere, but the fact that he’s teeing it up shows just how important the development of our young talent is to him.”

Meanwhile, newly-crowned European Masters champion Ramsay looks set to try his luck at the PGA Tour Qualifying School.