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  • European Masters, Round One

Lawrie begins brightly in quest for back-to-back wins

ESPN staff
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Paul Lawrie has booked his place at the Ryder Cup next month © Getty Images
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Paul Lawrie continued his impressive form ahead of the Ryder Cup with a fluent start to the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

The Scot, an automatic qualifier for Jose Maria Olazabal's European Ryder Cup team, posted a two-under 69 on day one.

It was his first round since victory at the Johnnie Walker Championship at the weekend - his second European Tour success of the season, and eighth overall.

That triumph represented a welcome revival for a player who, until Gleneagles, was without a top-ten finish since May. The 43-year-old subsequently insisted he was hitting the ball better than he had at any point in his career.

On Thursday he began with a bogey on the tenth before steadying himself, dropping only two more shots and grabbing five birdies, four of which came on the course's short par-fours.

France's Gregory Bourdy leads the tournament at eight-under, having fired a birdie-free 63. Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed and Oliver Fisher of England are his closest clubhouse pursuers, at two strokes back.

Another Ryder Cup player, Peter Hanson of Sweden, joins Lawrie at two-under, while Thomas Bjorn, one of Olazabal's vice-captains, is three-over.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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