Today’s round at the Renaissance Club looks likely to be Aberdonian Major winner Paul Lawrie’s final 18 holes on the European Tour.
Lawrie announced yesterday the tournament in North Berwick will be his last on the regular European circuit.
The 51-year-old 1999 Open champion, a star of two Ryder Cups, including 2012’s Miracle at Medinah, will now focus on seniors’ events, while also continuing with his foundation, management company and growing his new Tartan Pro Tour, among other interests.
Lawrie, whose career high in golf’s other Majors was a tie for 15th at the Masters in 2003, ends his European Tour career with eight victories in 620 starts.
Here are the player known as Chippy’s great eight:
March 3 1996 – Catalan Open
It took Lawrie – who turned pro with a handicap of five – until his fifth season on the European Tour to win an event.
The one-stroke victory over home player Fernando Roca in Spain – in a tournament shortened to 36 holes due to bad weather – landed Lawrie 70,000 Euros and the boost saw him go on to finish 21st on the Order of Merit.
February 20 1999 – Qatar Masters
Little less than four months before the incredible final day at Carnoustie, which has in many ways defined Lawrie’s career, he won his second European Tour event, in the Middle East, by seven strokes.
His -20 final score was the tied lowest to par in the tournament’s history.
He would go on to win the tournament again 13 years later.
July 18 1999 – The Open Championship
Lawrie’s famous Major win at Carnoustie came after Frenchman Jean van de Velde had thrown away a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole.
It meant the Aberdeen player going into a play-off with both Van de Velde and Justin Leonard.
Lawrie had started the day 10 shots off Van de Velde’s lead, but showed nerves of steel to produce a comeback no one has managed in a Major before or since, with birdies on the third and fourth play-off holes clinching a three-shot win.
His final iron shot will go down in the annals of golfing history:
The Scot would go on to finish ninth on the Order of Merit in 1999.
October 21 2001 – Dunhill Links Championship
Capturing the lucrative Dunhill Links, played at Carnoustie, St Andrews and Kingsbarns, with a one-shot win over South African Ernie Els, propelled Lawrie to a career high of sixth in the European Order of Merit.
August 11 2002 – Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open
Victory at Celtic Manor in 2002 proved to be Lawrie’s last victory on Tour for nine years.
His -16 total was five strokes better than nearest challenger John Bickerton, of England.
A year previous, in 2001, Lawrie and England’s Daren Lee had lost a play-off to Ireland’s Paul McGinley.
March 27 2011 – Open de Andalucia de Golf
Scottish players had just missed out on winning the Andalucian Open in both 2009 and 2010, with David Drysdale and Peter Whiteford just falling short as runners up.
Lawrie’s victory at Parador de Málaga Golf made sure there would be no more Scottish heartache in the event and, crucially, ended his long wait for another Tour victory.
February 5 2012 – Commercialbank Qatar Masters
“Chippy” joined Adam Scott as just the second player to win the Qatar prize twice when he beat both Jason Day – since a Major winner – and Peter Hanson by four shots over a wind-induced 54-hole format.
August 26 2012 – Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles
Lawrie’s final win on the European Tour came in his homeland, at Gleneagles, in what was one of the best years of his career.
He recorded another four-stroke victory, this time over Australia’s Brett Rumford, which not only earned him qualification for his second Ryder Cup, at Medinah, but also pushed him into the top-10 of the Order of Merit once again.