Runner-up Thriston continues to win millions in Dubai


When South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence completed the fourth round in the Dubai Invitational on Sunday afternoon on the Dubai Creek course, he surely could never have foreseen the drama that unfolded in front of him in the next 30 minutes.

Lawrence, who finished three shots behind the leader, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, in the fourth round, finished the final round in 64 shots (-8). All of a sudden he was the clubhouse leader on 266 shots (-18) and firmly on his way to dusting off Fleetwood and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy to win the first prize money of almost R8 million.

As Lawrence carefully checked his scorecard, his eyes were glued to the TV.

Lawrence, who was born and raised in Mbombela, may have thought of the Lucas Maree song with the words “I could do with a million” as he began to prepare for a possible play-off game.

But McIlroy temporarily forced himself out of first place after the Northern Irishman scored a birdie on the 17th hole.

Fleetwood also achieved a birdie to also hit -18 on the 18th hole.

McIlroy, who was 19 shots under par, pulled his tee shot to the left on the last hole and the ball landed in the water. He had to throw out after a penalty stroke and finished the hole in one stroke over par to finish with Lawrence on 268 strokes.

Fleetwood made a second successive birdie on the 18th to finish first at 265 (-19).

With his victory, Fleetwood earned around R7.8 million and Lawrence and McIIroy both R5.1 million.

Jordan Smith of England was fourth on 268, followed by Italian Francesco Molinari (269) and then Zander Lombard of South Africa and American Sean Crocker, who both finished on 270 strokes (-14).

Of the other South Africans, Hennie du Plessis finished 23rd on 278 (-6) with Ockie Strydom further back on 285 (+1).

* In the American PGA Series’ Sony tournament decided at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii, the American Grayson Murray won the tournament after a three-way playoff against Byeong-Hun An (South Korea) and the American Keegan Bradley.

All three finished on 263 shots (-17) before Murray sealed the playoff.

Russell Henley (America) and Carl Yuan of China tied for fourth on 264 (-16), followed by American JT Poston, Matthieu Pavon (France), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina) and Nick Taylor of Canada, who all tied on 265 strokes (-15) finished.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen (273, -7) performed decently, but Garrick Higgo finished last on 282 (+2).

Murray’s career was in tatters a few years ago because of his drinking problems. He also accused the PGA officials on social media of not wanting to help him with his problems.

His career was at a dead end after he won the Barbasol tournament in 2017 and great things were predicted for him.

He wisely decided to take a few months off from golf, converted to Christianity and received help for his drinking and depression problems.

“It’s not easy, you know? I wanted to give up quite a few times, on myself and the game I loved so much, also a few times on my life. When you’re tired of fighting, let someone else fight for you,” Murray said in his winning interview.

  • Additional source: The Golf Channel