Couples cruises as Lawrie lives a nightmare

Sergio Garcia, who finished last a year ago, and Paul Lawrie, last year's winner, found their roles reversed at St Andrews today.

Sergio Garcia, who finished last a year ago, and Paul Lawrie, last year's winner, found their roles reversed at St Andrews today.

While Garcia built a challenge for the Open championship with three birdies in his first seven holes, Lawrie's reign as champion was stuttering to a halt.

The 31-year-old Scot, who refused to blame his poor performance on a wrist injury suffered when a youngster he was coaching hit him, probably needed a 66 to survive the halfway cut.

But he could manage only a level par front nine of 36 and then double-bogeyed the 314-yard 12th. It left him eight over - 16 strokes behind playing partner Fred Couples.

The 40-year-old American, who sot 70 on his first day, birdied the second, fourth, seventh and eighth for an outward 32, and picked up further shots on the 14th and 15th to take the lead from compatriot Steve Flesch.

Left-hander Flesch, joint second overnight with Tiger Woods a shot behind Ernie Els, was two ahead at eight under after an eagle at the 14th, but then drove into the Sutherland pot bunker at the next, bogeyed and fell back into a tie with Garcia.

Els failed to keep up the momentum of his opening 66, three-putting the 397-yard third. His second putt was from less than three feet.

Woods was among the later starters, but 20-year-old Garcia, runner-up to the world number one at the US PGA championship last August, followed up his 68 by pitching to six feet on the first and then two-putting the 568-yard fifth. An 18-footer on the seventh brought him alongside Flesch.

Van de Velde kept himself in the hunt to make amends for last year. Only one under overnight he birdied the fifth, seventh and ninth to improve to four under and joint sixth place with a group which also included Masters champion Vijay Singh and yet to tee off Padraig Harrington and Ian Garbutt.

The axe was likely to fall at level par tonight.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power