Michael Lawrie lives up to his 'Chippy' name as he rolls back the years
As teenagers who are keen on golf, already good golfers in fact, Craig and Michael Lawrie elected to spend this week playing in their own junior events rather than travelling down from Aberdeen to Lancashire to watch the Open Championship.
But yesterday they were in the wrong place. As the Fylde Coast began to dry out, north of the border the Lawrie brothers could not get out of the clubhouse.
"They are both decent players now and they wanted to stay home but it's been a bit of a disaster for them," said their father, Paul Lawrie, who won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. "The courses at home are shut with the rain but I'm sure they will have been watching on the telly."
It was good viewing for the Lawrie sons on television as well as the handsome gallery their dad took around the Lytham links. Nothing was finer than an imperious seven-iron to within two and a half feet of the flag for a tap-in birdie at the last hole. A five-under-par round of 65 equalled the Scot's lowest ever score in the Open and heading the home challenge for the Claret Jug.
Lawrie is known as a bad weather golfer. But that does not mean he cannot strike a mean ball when the conditions are more favourable as yesterday, with the course soft underfoot and little wind. What the 43-year-old did well was to ride out an uncertain start and take advantage of the good fortune that came his way."
"Obviously, we get enough bad luck," he said with the air of a man who knows of what he speaks, "it's nice when it goes your way now and again." At both the third and the fifth holes, he chipped in from off the green for birdies, while at the sixth he saved par with a long putt from the back of the green.
What would Lee Westwood, or most other players, give for Lawrie's chipping ability? It is one of the reasons he is known as "Chippy". "The one at the third was not lying too good, it was a wee bit of a scrappy lie. And the one at five was a shocking lie in the rough, but both of them came out absolutely perfect. Even though you may think you may be a bit lucky, both of them just fell in the hole. They were dead pace. It's nice when they come out as soft as that."
A more regulation birdie at the fourth meant he had a run of three in a row and despite dropping his only shot of the day at the eighth, another three birdies in the last five holes rounded off a good day's work. He was pleased but warned: "It's only Thursday. If you're in this position with nine holes to play on Sunday, then you know you've had a great week."
Lawrie has not had a great week at the Open since he won it 13 years ago. His game has been on the up since he had the shock of being beaten by one of his sons for the first time and also after a brief stint as a commentator at the 2010 Ryder Cup when he realised he preferred it out on the fairways. He could be playing in the next match this September.
A great week would help that cause and among those already impressed yesterday was his playing partner Davis Love, America's captain in Chicago.
Selected second round tee times (GB & Irl unless stated)
9.09am B van Pelt (US), F Molinari (It), T Muto (Japan)
9.20am R McIlroy, L Oosthuizen (SA), K Bradley (US)
9.31am P Harrington, R Fowler (US), M Trappel (Aut)
9.42am L Donald, P Mickelson (US), G Ogilvy (Aus)
9.53am T Taniguchi (Japan), S Stricker (US), A Hansen (Den)
10.04am R Goosen (SA), P Hanson (Swe), R Allenby (Aus)
12.15pm A Canizares (Sp), J M Singh (India), G Chalmers (Aus)
1.10pm S Cink (US), R C Bello (Sp), J Wagner (US)
1.32pm D Love III (US), T Clark (SA), P Lawrie
1.43pm A Dunbar, A Scott (Aus), M Kuchar (US)
1.59pm N Watney (US), V Singh (Fiji), I Poulter
2.10pm D Clarke, E Els (SA), Z Johnson (US)
2.21pm Y Fujimoto (Japan), L Westwood, B Watson (US)
2.32pm D Johnson (US), G McDowell, H Fujita (Japan)
2.43pm T Woods (US), J Rose, S Garcia (Sp)
2.54pm R Ishikawa (Japan), M Kaymer (Ger), T Watson (US)
Today Conditions will be wet early this morning but will dry out before lunch. Staying cloudy there-after, giving way to sun in the early evening. Maximum temp: 16C
Tomorrow Beginning pleasantly warm and sunny, with an increasing risk of cloud as the afternoon continues. Remaining dry all day. Maximum temp: 18C
Sunday Similar conditions to Saturday, with minimal likelihood of rain. Overcast with intermittent sunshine throughout the day. Maximum temp: 19C