Doha - Former champion Paul Lawrie took a one shot lead into the final round of the Qatar Masters on Saturday despite incurring a penalty on the 10th hole when he "accidentally" dropped his ball on his marker.
Nobody saw the marker move and Lawrie himself was sure it hadn’t, but nevertheless had to take the one-stroke penalty.
"There are so many rules, it’s impossible to get them perfect," Lawrie said.
"It was an accident, I was not trying to gain any advantage," the Scot added.
Despite the setback, Lawrie went on to birdie the next hole and picked up two more shots for an eight-under par 136 aggregate to lead Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts by one shot.
Swede Peter Hanson and Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez were on joint third a further stroke down while South African James Kingston and England’s Simon Khan were in joint fourth on 139
Lawrie, who won the event in 1999 and later that year went on to claim the British Open, is looking for his seventh title on the European Tour, but he was not getting ahead of himself.
"Anything can happen, there’s still plenty of golf to be played," said
the Scot, ranked 78th in the world.
"I will give it my best shot tomorrow and see what happens."
The tournament was cut short to 54 holes after fierce desert winds lashed the Doha Golf Club on Friday forcing officials to call off play.
With the sponsors and partners insisting that the tournament be finished on Sunday, it was decided not to extend it to Monday.
Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castanio, who lead at six under after the first round, failed to capitalise on his advantage, shooting a 75 on Saturday to slip to three under, while John Daly, who had stroked a 67 in atrocious conditions on Thursday, was on four under 140.
World number three Lee Westwood was on three under after completing his second round.