Lawrie was born in Dublin and educated at University College Dublin where he took up a golf scholarship. He won the 1996 Irish Amateur Closed Championship and turned professional in 1997. It took him several years to win a place on the European Tour, but a fourth place finish on the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2002, including victory in the Challenge Tour Grand Final, earned him a European Tour card, which Lawrie credits much of to the help of swing coach, Brendan McDaid. He had a solid début season at the higher level in 2003 and became the first Irishman to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. He has consistently finished in the top 100 of the Order of Merit since, with a best position of 36th in 2010.
Lawrie achieved a breakthrough in 2008 when he won his first title on the European Tour at the Open de España, where he defeated Ignacio Garrido in a playoff