Former Open champion Paul Lawrie reclaimed his place amongst the sport’s elite by securing his seventh European Tour title at the awkwardly-dubbed Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy this afternoon.
His game rejuvenated in recent months by a rededication to the sort of practice that brought him victory at Carnoustie a little over a decade ago, the 43-year-old Scot fired a best-of-the-day 65 to run out the winner by four shots over Australian Jason Day (65) and in-form Ryder Cup veteran Peter Hanson (67).
Having lost Friday to inclement weather – the exposed course found itself no match for high winds and swirling clouds of dislodged sand – officials took the decision on Saturday to reduce the tournament from 72 to 54 holes.
If Lawrie’s victory comes with an asterisk, then, his return to the top-50 of the world rankings and qualification for next month’s World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play in Arizona do not.
Ranked a lowly 272nd in the world less than a year ago, the Scot’s turn-around in form bodes well for a successful twilight to his competitive career; it has even raised the possibility of second Ryder Cup appearance.
“If I keep playing as I am I will get in, there’s no question, but there’s a long way to go and I know as well as anyone that there are a lot of good players.”
Another former Open champion fallen on hard times, John Daly, capped a less lucrative, though no less suprising, comeback of his own to claim solo possession of fourth place. The American closed with a 67 to guarantee his highest finish since 2009 Italian Open.