Lawrie beats blisters to shine with a 65

Scotland's Paul Lawrie displayed the form that won him The Open at Carnoustie in July when he fired six birdies and an eagle to take a one-shot lead into the second round of the Million Dollar Challenge here yesterday.

Scotland's Paul Lawrie displayed the form that won him The Open at Carnoustie in July when he fired six birdies and an eagle to take a one-shot lead into the second round of the Million Dollar Challenge here yesterday.

Lawrie shot a 65, despite bogeying the par-four third, to lead Colin Montgomerie. Lawrie made up for his bogey with an eagle on the ninth, a hole that all the players except Miguel Angel Jiminez beat par. Lawrie's eagle brought him a watch as a prize, and when told it was the same as Ernie Els wears, his response was: "As long as I can win two majors like him, I'll be happy."

Lawrie was not perturbed by critics who suggest his win at The Open was a fluke. "As long as I play the way I know I can play, I can win tournaments. Then people can say what they want about me."

Plagued by a painful right ankle, Lawrie has been able to cope with that, even though he limps noticeably as he walks. However, the limp is brought on by blisters caused by an ankle brace he is wearing. At one stage Lawrie had to receive on course treatment from the tournament physiotherapist.

"The ankle itself is fine, but the blisters are a problem. That's when I asked if the physiotherapist could come and patch me up," Lawrie said.

Montgomerie, who shot a 66, got off to a flying start when he birdied the first three holes at the Gary Player Country Club course.

A dropped shot on the par-three 12th spoiled a fine day for Montgomerie after a tight battle with his playing partner, Ernie Els, the South African favourite who is a shot behind on five-under par.

"Seven birdies, one dropped shot, 66 is good. When I won this event I started with a 65," Montgomerie said. "I'm a great believer in the fact that, with a limited field and no cut, you can only lose it today, you can't win it. But the scoring conditions were good today, the greens weren't that fast."

The slow greens played havoc with the teenager Sergio Garcia, playing in his first Million Dollar event. The Spaniard is six shots off the pace on one-under par.

"I hit the ball pretty well and hit some putts, but it just doesn't want to go in," said the 19-year-old, who admitted he was tired after a long trip to South Africa this week. "I just can't make putts on these greens. I'm probably not as fresh as I was a couple of months before. Maybe I'll go and see the animals [in the nearby game park], get scared, and come back and play some golf."

Maybe a new caddie will help. Yesterday it was revealed that Fanny Sunesson, who split with Nick Faldo last month, will carry the young Spaniard's bag. Sunesson has agreed to work with Garcia at Tiger Woods' new tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, from 29 December to 2 January.

Garcia will have to go some here if he is to catch the leaders which include the American John Huston The 15th ranked player in the world is lying joint third with Els after hitting a 67, including an eagle on the 10th. The defending champion, Nick Price, bidding for his fourth Million Dollar title and his third in a row, is joint fourth with England's Lee Westwood on four under par.

Jose Maria Olazabal, the US Masters champion, is a shot further behind. However, Olazabal's fellow Spaniard, Jimenez, had a disastrous round, hitting five bogeys to trail the élite 12-man field on four over par, four shots adrift of Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.

MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE (Sun City, South Africa): First round scores: 65 P Lawrie (GB). 66 C Montgomerie (GB). 67 J Huston (US), E Els (SA). 68 L Westwood (GB), N Price (Zim). 69 J M Olazabal (Sp). 70 C Franco (Par), J Furyk (US). 71 S Garcia (Sp). 72 D Clarke (Irl). 76 M A Jiminez (Sp).

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect