Lawrie ends nine-year title drought with Andalucian Open victory

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The Independent Online

Paul Lawrie achieved his first European Tour win for nine years yesterday. The 42-year-old former Open champion took the Andalucian Open in Malaga by one from Swede Johan Edfors.

With six runners-up finishes since his last victory, Lawrie must have feared it was going to be another near miss when, from one ahead overnight, he bogeyed the first two holes and England's Mark Foster birdied them. But, in a repeat of what happened at last year's Spanish Open, Foster could not hold on to a three-shot lead.

Lawrie, despite dropping another stroke at the fifth, turned things round by starting the back nine with four birdies in five holes. And the Aberdeen golfer, whose world ranking has dropped from 29th in 2000 to 272nd, could even afford a closing bogey to win with a level par 70 and 12-under total of 268.

"It's been a long time – 2002 seems a hell of a time ago," he said. "I've had a few second places in there, but all of a sudden we're there again. It was going pear-shaped, but you've just got to keep going – that's all you can do. I played lovely and the putter behaved better. I got on a run at the right time."

Edfors was left to rue a three-putt bogey on the 15th after he had drawn level three times, but with a 68 he pushed Chilean Felipe Aguilar into third spot.

Foster, who like Lawrie was chasing his first victory in more than 200 Tour starts going back in his case to 2003, slipped back into a tie for fourth.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Ferrie, who equalled the Tour record with his 60 in the third round, crashed back to earth with a bump as a 75 sent him tumbling down to joint 11th.

Meanwhile, Lawrie's fellow Scot Martin Laird took a two-shot lead into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday.

Laird held a one-shot cushion after 36 holes at Bay Hill in Orlando following a superb second round of 65 on Friday. And the Glasgow-born 28-year-old managed to double that advantage with a third round of 70, finishing 11 under par and two clear of playing partner Spencer Levin.

Tiger Woods began the day six shots off the lead but ended it 10 behind after a 74 which included an eagle and two birdies, but also four bogeys and a double-bogey six.