Lawrie back as hero at Dunhill Links Championship in his native Scotland

Paul Lawrie
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Paul Lawrie was 6 under par in beating FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker in the Sunday singles.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 | 6:59 p.m.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Paul Lawrie is back in front of his home fans this week after playing his part in Europe's almost magical Ryder Cup victory.

The 43-year-old Scot, one of three Ryder Cup heroes who have moved straight onto the Dunhill Links Championship, has now experienced two wildly different emotions 13 years apart.

In 1999, Lawrie was a Ryder Cup rookie who lost only one of his five games in Boston, but witnessed a record-breaking American comeback from four points down in the singles. This time he was a member of a side that equalled that record for a win made all the more sweet because it came on United States soil.

Lawrie's only involvement on the opening two days at Medinah was to lose one four-ball game with Peter Hanson on the first day -- a 5&4 hammering by Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson -- and then another with Nicolas Colsaerts on Saturday. But when called upon to do his bit in the singles, the 1999 British Open champion came through with flying colors.

Lawrie was 6 under par in beating Brandt Snedeker, winner a week earlier of the $11.5 million FedExCup and Tour Championship double, by a crushing 5&3 margin.

"This obviously feels a lot better than '99," the Aberdeen golfer said. "That was pretty tough -- we were 10-6 ahead, the American team played fantastic and deservedly won.

"But today, especially at my age, to be part of this team and to come back from 10-6 behind on American soil, it doesn't get any better."

There were other survivors from the defeat 13 years ago who could cherish the 14 ½ - 13 ½  scoreline as well.

Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia also played -- and so, of course, did this year's captain, Jose Maria Olazabal.

He was on the receiving end of Justin Leonard's 45-foot putt on the 17th in Boston, the one that sparked celebrations on the green even though Olazabal could still halve the hole and keep the match alive.

The main emotion the Spaniard felt in victory this weekend was, of course, the memory of Seve Ballesteros, the former cup partner who lost his fight with brain cancer last year. But Olazabal's mind must also have gone back to Brookline -- and what pride he could take not just in the performance of his players, but how they handled themselves.

"We knew if we got going early we needed to put the American team in a situation where we wanted to see how they felt with a bit more pressure on," said Garcia. "Obviously everything was going their way throughout the whole week. They were making the putts, they were getting the good breaks here and there.

"We were just waiting to change that a little bit and see if we could do the same thing they did to us in '99 and see how they could react against that.

"I have been in that position, Lee has been in that position, Jose has been in that position, obviously Paul has been in that position and we know how it feels -- it's not easy," he explained. "It was a combination of playing great and maybe then that little bit of pressure getting to them."