Paul Lawrie continues to impress at windswept Qatar Masters

29 Jan 2016 11:23

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie enhanced his reputation as a bad-weather specialist to remain on course for a record third victory in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Lawrie held a one-shot lead at the halfway stage and a run of nine straight pars in Friday's third round was enough to keep the Scot at the top of the leaderboard as strong winds made scoring difficult.

The 47-year-old's first win in Qatar came in 1999, the same year as his Open triumph at Carnoustie, with the second in 2012 helping him secure a Ryder Cup return at Medinah after an absence of 13 years.

At 11 under par Lawrie led by one from England's Andrew Johnston, who had carded two birdies and one bogey on the front nine, with Lee Slattery, Thorbjorn Olesen and Nicolas Colsaerts all on nine under.

Colsaerts had twice claimed a share of the lead with former Ryder Cup partner Lawrie after carding birdies on the first and third either side of a bogey on the second, but bogeyed the sixth after a wild tee shot and three-putted the ninth from long range.

England's Richard Bland had defied the tough conditions with a superb 67 to set the clubhouse target on eight under, with defending champion Branden Grace on the same score with seven holes remaining.