Paul Lawrie pulls out of Andalucian Open

Paul Lawrie has pulled out of his Andalucian Open title defence because of illness - and it leaves him sweating on a place at the Masters.

The Aberdeen golfer is currently 45th in the world and, at the end of next week, the top 50 earn invitations to the opening major of the year.

Lawrie, who has not played at the Masters since 2004, almost withdrew from last week's Cadillac Championship.

"I haven't been feeling too well this week," he wrote on his website blog.

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I decided to cough and splutter my way round, eventually shooting 77

Paul Lawrie

That was on Sunday before the final round in Miami.

"Last night I was up coughing most of the night," he said.

"I was going to pull out today until I found out you have to complete four rounds for the money to count on the Order of Merit and Ryder Cup points.

"So I decided to cough and splutter my way round, eventually shooting 77."

It dropped him to joint 60th in the 74-man field and meant he did not pick up any world ranking points.

Lawrie won the Qatar Masters in February and is currently fifth in the race for places in Jose Maria Olazabal's European side for the Ryder Cup.

He last played in the match in 1999 - the year he won the Open Championship.

Olazabal, meanwhile, has also withdrawn from this week's event at Aloha near Marbella.

The Spaniard, plagued by rheumatic pains for the best part of two decades, has a foot injury.