• European Masters, Round Three

Lawrie in contention for European Masters

ESPN staff
September 1, 2012
Paul Lawrie is chasing back-to-back titles © PA Photos


Scotland's Paul Lawrie kept himself within touching distance of back-to-back European Tour victories on day three of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

World No. 30 Lawrie clinched his second victory of the season at the Johnnie Walker Championship last week and, following a 67, remains on track to double up after he closed on 10-under. He will start the final round one stroke off the pace, knowing he has the required mentality to get across the line.

Lawrie's improved recent form will come as a relief to European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who will call upon the Scot later this month against the American team at Medinah.

Prior to his Johnnie Walker triumph at Gleneagles, Lawrie had not recorded a top-ten finish on the European Tour since May. But now the veteran, seventh on the Race to Dubai and the winner of the 1999 Open Championship, looks as fluent as he has all season.

However, first he must overhaul Richie Ramsay, who is one shot ahead at 11-under. Ramsay fired a six-under 64 to top the leaderboard, amid poor visual conditions that caused a delay to the start of play.

Lawrie set his stall out with an eagle three at the first, and he notched another five birdies on the front nine, to go with two bogeys as his aggressive, risk-reward strategy yielded mixed results. He picked up another at 12, only to be checked by a double-bogey seven at the 14th to deny him the outright lead.

England's Danny Willett is level with Lawrie on 10-under, with Frenchman Julien Quesne a stroke further back.

Elsewhere, David Lynn, second at the US PGA Championship last month, had comfortably his best day of the tournament: a 65 that took him to six-under, where he is joined by fellow Englishman Simon Dyson.

Ross Fisher, a member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team in 2010, had a 72 and is now level-par, while Fisher's captain in that year, Colin Montgomerie, is on one-under after a 71.

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