One more birdie. One less bogey. It was as close as that for Thriston Lawrence as he closed his DP World Tour Championship campaign with a six-under-par 66 on Sunday to finish in a share of fifth on 17-under-par.
At 18-under, or better still 19-under, Lawrence would almost certainly have wrapped up his PGA Tour playing privileges. As it is, the South African Open champion finished 19th on the final Race to Dubai rankings, just a spot or two outside what would have been a career windfall.
It was a good final round for Lawrence, with seven birdies and a bogey taking him to four shots behind the winner, Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark. Hojgaard reeled off five birdies in a row after dropping a shot on the 12th, and he roared to what was eventually a two-stroke edge over Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace of England and Norway’s Viktor Hovland.
If Lawrence is to have any regrets – and he shouldn’t – he will look back on missing out on birdies on two of the par-fives, the seventh and the 14th in his final round. He narrowly missed a makeable eagle putt on the par-five 18th too after a 224-yard approach he lasered inside 16 feet.
But he should take heart, rather than be regretful, from a season during which he became South Africa’s top-ranked player according to the Official World Golf Ranking, and cemented his place amongst Europe’s elite.
The other South African who made into the season-finale was Zander Lombard. He stayed at 32nd in the Race to Dubai rankings after a closing two-under-par 70 saw him finish on 10-under-par in a share of 22nd.