by G. Rennie
It’s great to see Scottish golfers making a strong bid to win their national open with three players in the top five after two rounds at the Scottish Open. Paul Lawrie is tied for fifth after firing a 64 on the Castel Stuart links, matching the low score of the round. Lawrie is perhaps the most recognizable Scottish golfer to American audiences, with the exception of the redoubtable Colin Montgomerie. Lawrie’s greatest golfing accomplishment was a win at Carnoustie in ’99 when he emerged victorious from the four hole playoff with Justin Leonard and Jen Van De Velde. Van De Velde’s triple at the 18th cost him the Open Championship and that epic meltdown has almost obscured Lawrie’s success.
Two lesser known players from Scotland are tied with Graeme McDowell at -11. Paul Whiteford matched Lawrie’s 64 today while Scott Jamieson shot a 6 under 66 to follow up his opening round of 67.
While these sons of Saint Andrew were shooting blistering scores most everyone else was a bit chilly, especially the galleries at this linksland/farmland layout hard on the cold, gray Firth of Moray close by the Highlands city of Inverness. The high temperatures have been in the mid 60’s at midday and the sun, though it broke through a little today, never made a showing on Thursday when some rain and constant wind kept the scoring in check. Back here in the Northeast U.S. the weather’s been downright tropical with high humidity and temps pushing 90. They’re a hardy lot those Scots spectators, following the players round with two hands on their umbrellas. I wonder how many in the crowd have a pocket flask filled some fermented grain beverage. Whiskey and golf, we owe quite a lot to those Scots.