Johannesburg – South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence won his maiden title, the Johannesburg Open – the curtain raiser for the new DP World Tour, after organisers called off play on Saturday due to “increasingly inclement weather”.
The tournament had already been reduced to 54 holes due to the emergence in South Africa of a new coronavirus variant.
After an exodus of 16 British and Irish players following Thursday’s opening round, scrambling to get home to avoid quarantine, organisers took drastic action.
However, they could do nothing about the weather and had no choice but to call a halt with Lawrence out on the course and having bogeyed the first.
“Due to increasingly inclement weather in the Johannesburg area, the Sunshine Tour, DP World Tour and City of Johannesburg have been forced to call the result of the Joburg Open after 36 holes,” read a statement from the organisers.
“It means the winner of the tournament is South African Thriston Lawrence, following his matching opening rounds of 65 which gave the 24-year-old a 12-under-par total of 130 and a four shot winning margin over his compatriot Zander Lombard.”
Lawrence was ecstatic despite the rather bizarre circumstances of how his victory came about.
“It’s so surreal,” said Lawrence, whose previous best finish in 21 EPGA Tour (now The DP World Tour) events was joint 17th.
“I don’t think anyone thought it would turn out this way, to finish on a Saturday afternoon but I’m just really thankful.
“It’s a lifechanging moment for me. It’s a lifelong dream that has come true.”
A further bonus for Lawrence is his victory earns him a place at next year’s British Open at St Andrews.
Joining him there will be runner-up Lombard and Ashley Chesters, who finished tied for third with Shaun Norris, who had already qualified.
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