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Lawrie takes lead at Qatar Masters despite penalty

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Former British Open Champion Paul Lawrie recovered from a penalty for dropping his ball on a marker to shoot a 5-under 67 Saturday and take a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts into the final round of the Qatar Masters.

Lawrie took advantage of calmer conditions at the Doha Golf Course to make six birdies for an 8-under total of 136 after two rounds of the wind-affected event, which has been shortened to 54 holes. The 43-year-old Scotsman birdied the 16th to move into a tie with Colsaerts and then added another on 18 to take the outright lead.

The tournament has been disrupted by wind all week, and organizers were forced to call off Friday's play and reduce the event to three rounds. Dozens of players were forced to stop their rounds after gusts of up to 56 kph (35 mph) moved balls and tossed around signs. Conditions improved Saturday, but it remained windy.

"I played very good again, hitting it beautifully tee to green," said Lawrie, who won the Andalucian Open in 2011 for his first win in nine years. "Anytime you play as solidly as that and hit a few putts in there it's a fair chance you are going to play well."

Lawrie's could have had an even bigger lead, had he not accidentally dropped his ball on his marker at the 10th green. Since it was unclear whether the ball moved, Lawrie was forced to take a one-shot penalty. It was a similar mistake to that made by Ian Poulter during a two-way playoff at the Dubai World Championship in 2010, when his penalty essentially gave the win to Robert Karlsson of Sweden.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Osama Faisal, AP

By PGATOUR

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