Paul Lawrie has a pretty simple target for his first Senior Open Championship this week – win the thing.
The 1999 Open champion is making his debut at Royal Lytham and St Annes this week having played at both the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish open and the Open Championship in successive weeks, but his target was always the Senior Open.
“This week is what it is all about for me,” said. “For me to get an exemption on the Champions Tour, I need to try and have a good week. That’s the tour I want to play.
“The Staysure Tour is okay but, in the first few years after you turn 50, the Champions Tour is really where you want to be.
“The way my game is right now, a top 10 would be a good week. But, to be honest, I need to win. It’s my last Champions Tour-sanctioned event of the season unless I get some invites for the end of the year, which aren’t looking like coming.
“So I either I win next week or I go to the Q School for the Champions Tour. I’m not sure my game is good enough to win, but you never know. You can pull out something on the week.”
Lawrie’s form the last two weeks wasn’t good enough to beat the cut, but he feels the difference between main tour and senior golf sharply.
“On the main tour, everyone outhits me but on the Senior Tour, I’m one of the bigger hitters. But I’m still coming back from my foot surgery.
“The last five or six holes have been a real struggle to keep going. For 12 or 13 holes since I came back, I’ve been competing but I have dropped a lot of shots on the last five or six holes, which is a sure sign that you are not fit enough or you are struggling with a bit of stiffness.
“Friday at Royal Portrush was the best day I’ve had in terms of finishing off a round, so I see that as a positive and hopefully I can keep that going next week.”
He has good memories of Lytham, being on the leaderboard in the last men’s major at the Lancashire links.
“I’ve played nicely at Lytham in the past, and I had a 65 in the first round in The Open in 2012,” he recalled. “It’s a course I like and know well.
Lawrie continues with his fund-raising for his Foundation and other charities, holding an invitational pro-am with professionals and celebrities on the Monday of Open at Gleneagles Hotel and raising more than £80,000 for trhe foundation, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Beatston Institute.
“It was brilliant, the weather was amazing and all the players, celebrities and sponsors had a great day – it couldn’t have gone any better.
“We don’t have an exact figure yet but it will be in the £80-90,000 bracket. We will need to chat to a few sponsors to see how they felt it went before seeing if it becomes an annual event.
“I should probably have done that on Monday night when they were all a bit merry and enjoying themselves!
“It was a proper event, with (wife) Marian, as always, doing a great job organising things, and you are raising proper money.”