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Illness robs Lawrie of chance to defend Andalucian title

It was the tournament that ended a nine-year title drought for Paul Lawrie on the European Tour last season but the Scot's defence of his Andalucian Open crown has been scuppered by illness.

The 43-year-old, whose victory in Malaga last March was his first since he landed the 2002 Wales Open, had complained of feeling unwell during the WGC Cadillac Championship in Florida at the weekend. Lawrie had pondered withdrawing from that event ahead of the final round but ploughed on in an attempt to earn more vital Ryder Cup qualifying points.

While Lawrie recuperates, his fellow Scot, Stephen Gallacher, has travelled to the Costa del Sol in purposeful mood. The 37-year-old shared second with world No.3 Lee Westwood during his last outing on tour, February's Dubai Desert Classic, and the former Dunhill Links champion is eager to build on that impressive performance.

"I felt in control in Dubai and it's all down to how well you are swinging," said Gallacher. "I've been in contention before when I wasn't swinging great. It's a time bomb when your bad habits come into play. I was playing with arguably one of best golfers we've had in Westwood and that's where I felt I belonged. I want to be there more often."

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