Out-of-form Lawrie may drop out of US Open

Europe's last winner of a major golf title is in crisis a week before the US Open. Paul Lawrie's second-round score of 76 yesterday left him on 149, a distant 14 shots behind England's Miles Tunnicliff in the Diageo Championship.

Europe's last winner of a major golf title is in crisis a week before the US Open. Paul Lawrie's second-round score of 76 yesterday left him on 149, a distant 14 shots behind England's Miles Tunnicliff in the Diageo Championship.

Lawrie left the windswept course saying he had just spent two days of "absolute torture". The 35-year-old Aberdeen player, a sorry 131st in this season's Order of Merit and without a top 30 finish since October, had this to say about the prospect of testing himself on a Shinnecock Hills lay-out where Corey Pavin's winning score nine years ago was level par.

"Some of me thinks 'what's the point?' Playing the way I am playing and going to a course the way it is going to be set up, how many could I shoot out there?

"I don't know. Right now I am entered and I am going, but if I keep playing the way I have been playing then I will have to take some time out and get it right.

"The confidence is totally gone. I'm expecting bad shots and some of them are just terrible - 10-handicapper stuff and sometimes worse than that. You're supposed to enjoy golf, but it's a toil."

Tunnicliff and Nick O'Hern shared the first-day pace with 67s but while the Leamington golfer built on that with a 68, O'Hern, of Australia, could only post a 73. He dropped well off the lead shot-wise but is still in joint-second with Graeme McDowell.

DIAGEO CHAMPIONSHIP (Gleneagles) early leading scores (GB unless stated): 135 M Tunnicliff 67 68; 140 G McDowell 69 71, N O'Hern (Aus) 67 73; 141 D Howell 73 68, H Stenson (Swe) 71 70, P McGinley 68 73; 142 R Russell 75 67, T Price (Aus) 73 69, P Baker 70 72, G Evans 73 69; 143 G Emerson 73 70, M Roe 70 73, R Green (Aus) 69 74; 144 M Blackey 70 74, G Hutcheon 74 70, C Montgomerie 71 73, D Lynn 71 73, G Murphy 70 74, S Kjeldsen (Den) 74 70, P Sjoland (Swe) 69 75; 145 S Gallacher 72 73.

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