Lockdown leaves Paul Lawrie short on underwear in Carnoustie

Unexpected overnight stay for 1999 Open champion in Angus town

Paul Lawrie admitted it was "cool" to see his new Tartan Pro Tour get up and running with the first round of the Carnoustie Challenge. Picture: Kenny Smith
Paul Lawrie admitted it was "cool" to see his new Tartan Pro Tour get up and running with the first round of the Carnoustie Challenge. Picture: Kenny Smith

Paul Lawrie's plan to sleep in his own bed during the Carnoustie Challenge, the first event on the new Tartan Pro Tour, was scuppered by Aberdeen being placed back into lockdown.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the news as Lawrie was on the front nine in the opening round and it had been relayed to him out on the Angus course before he signed for a level-par 72.

"We’re going to stay because we might not get back for tomorrow if we go home," said the 51-year-old of a rule not to travel further than five miles being re-imposed in the Granite City following a spike in coronavirus cases.

"We’ll have to go and buy some underwear at Tesco’s, and there’s your line!" he added with one of his hearty chuckles of being unprepared for an overnight stay.

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The second event on the new Scottish circuit, which has been set up by Lawrie through his Five Star Sports Management & Events company, is due to be the Scottish Par 3 Championship at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre on the outskirts of Aberdeen this weekend.

With three golf clubs - Aboyne, Deeside and Hazlehead - having been included by NHS Grampian on a list linked to the new cluster, the chances of that going ahead as planned appear to be slim.

"The weekend is definitely a problem," admitted Lawrie. "I can’t see that happening, but we’ll wait and see what the story is. It doesn’t sound so good back home. I don’t get why people can’t just behave? Do the right thing and not go to the pub for a bit? I just don’t get it.

"Go and stay away from people. If everyone did the right thing, we wouldn’t have a problem, but now we have a problem again."

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Back at the scene of his 1999 Open Championship win, Lawrie said it was "cool" seeing the new Scottish circuit get up and running before getting down to what he still enjoys the most.

After birdies at the fourth and sixth, he was leading the way until "a couple of really poor three putts at nine and 10" and, with his back hurting, it was a "struggle" for the rest of the round.

That said, a par save from a greenside bunker - "I think that was the one I was in during the play-off in 1999" - at the 16th was a touch of class while a fairway-splitting drive at the last promoted playing partner Jack McDonald to say: "He knows how to play this hole!"

After having to settle for a par there on this occasion, Lawrie said: "I was quite nervous waiting for it all to kick off and get going, and make sure we got it all on time, everything organised and signed up.

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"Mikey MacDougall and Reece Mitchell have done a brilliant job and many thanks to Charles Dernie for helping us out with the refereeing. A lot of planning, effort and work by a lot of people, and it’s great to get started.

"It was always where we wanted to start. I’m attached here now and I spoke to Michael Wells (chief executive of Carnoustie Golf Links) and he was so supportive. The course is magnificent and it just doesn’t get any better than that."

Sam Locke, who is mentored and managed by Lawrie, leads by a shot heading into the final round after carding a four-under 68 on the course where he won the Silver Medal as leading amateur in the 2018 Open Championship.

"I not played a lot at Carnoustie, but when I have it has provided good memories, so I always love coming back," said the 21-year-old after an effort that was illuminated by an eagle-3 at the 12th.

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