Home playing return for cup hero Lawrie

Hampshire Chronicle: Paul Lawrie returns to play in front of home fans in this week's Dunhill Links Championship Paul Lawrie returns to play in front of home fans in this week's Dunhill Links Championship

Paul Lawrie will be back in front of his home fans this week after playing his part in Europe's almost magical Ryder Cup victory.

The 43-year-old Scot, one of three cup heroes who have moved straight onto the Dunhill Links Championship, has now experienced two wildly different emotions 13 years apart.

In 1999 Lawrie was a cup debutant who lost only one of his five games in Boston, but witnessed a record-breaking American fightback from four points down in the singles. This time he was a member of a side which equalled that record for a win made all the more sweet because it came on United States soil.

Lawrie's only involvement on the opening two days at Medinah was to lose one fourball game with Peter Hanson on the first day - a 5&4 hammering by Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson - and then another with Nicolas Colsaerts on Saturday.

But when called upon to do his bit in the singles the former Open champion came through with flying colours.

Lawrie was six-under-par in beating Brandt Snedeker, winner a week earlier of the £7million FedEx Cup and Tour Championship double, by a crushing 5&3 margin.

"This obviously feels a lot better than '99," the Aberdeen golfer said. "That was pretty tough - we were 10-6 ahead, the American team played fantastic and deservedly won.

"But today, especially at my age, to be part of this team and to come back from 10-6 behind on American soil, it doesn't get any better."

There were other survivors from the defeat 13 years ago who could cherish the 14 1/2-13 1/2 scoreline as well. Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia also played - and so, of course, did this year's captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

He was on the receiving end of Justin Leonard's 45-foot putt on the 17th in Boston, the one which sparked celebrations on the green even though Olazabal could still halve the hole and keep the match alive. The main emotion the Spaniard felt in victory this weekend was, of course, the memory of Seve Ballesteros, the former cup partner who lost his fight with brain cancer last year.

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