SA’s Lawrence wins play-off to take European Masters title
His triumph will lift him inside the top 100 players in the world on the latest Official World Golf Ranking list which will be released on Monday.
South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence poses with the trophy after winning the European Tour/DP World Tour European Masters golf tournament in Crans Montana western Switzerland on Sunday. Picture: Gabriel Monnet / AFP
Thriston Lawrence added his name on Sunday to a famous list of South Africans who have won the Omega European Masters when he took the title on the first extra hole of the play-off after a closing round of one-under-par 69.
After his opening eight-under-par 62, he was never headed, although a resurgent Matt Wallace of England drew level with him on the 16th hole of the final round when Lawrence made bogey. But his approach to 18 in the play-off was better than Wallace’s and it was enough, with two putts, to give him his second DP World Tour title after he won the rain-shortened Joburg Open last November.
He’s the first South African to win it since Ernie Els took the title in 2003, and he joins the likes of Jeff Hawkes, Hugh Baiocchi, Dale Hayes, Harold Henning and Bobby Locke to win at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Crans Montana in Switzerland. He also joins greats like Bob Charles, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo who have donned the famous red jacket awarded to the winner.
“It’s a privilege to be able to take this victory,” said Lawrence after he won. “There is so much history around this event – all the past champions – so I can’t wait to get my hands on that trophy.”
Lawrence began the day with a three-shot lead but was caught at the summit by a charging Wallace after 16 holes. With both players parring the 17th and 18th to finish on 18-under-par, extra holes were required to decide the winner.
And with Wallace unable to save par at the first play-off hole, a four was good enough to hand Lawrence victory on his first visit to Crans Montana.
“Going back down 18, it was just another chance to win again, so I was actually quite fine with it,” said Lawrence of his feelings heading into the play-off. “It’s a tricky golf course. You can lose a few shots, especially around 14, 15 and 16, and on par-fives, you can make a silly mistake and the other guy can make birdies. But overall, I’m happy with my patience this week, and so pleased to be able to win this.”
His triumph will lift him inside the top 100 players in the world on the latest Official World Golf Ranking list which will be released on Monday, and he climbs to ninth on the DP World Tour rankings. With not much of the season left, he’s almost certain to win playing privileges on the PGA Tour, and in these rapidly changing golfing times, that’s an even bigger deal for a South African from Mbombela than it ever was.
“All those achievements, it’s a dream come true,” said Lawrence. “Growing up, I always wanted to be in the top 100 in the world, and to achieve it is quite emotional.”
Behind him, Louis de Jager had another good week, finishing inside the top 10, with his closing three-under-par 67 putting him in a share of ninth on 13-under. George Coetzee and Hennie du Plessis were in a share of 16th on 11-under after rounds of 68 and 69 respectively. Daniel van Tonder had a closing level-par 70 to finish on nine-under for the week in 29th. Darren Fichardt was on seven-under in 44th, Oliver Bekker on four-under in 62nd and Thomas Aiken in 71st on one-under.