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Lawrence claims COVID shortened Johannesburg Open


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The event had been reduced to a 54-hole tournament on Friday night to help players, caddies and tournament support staff return to their home countries, a move triggered by international travel restrictions after the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 in South Africa.

Lawrence had a four-stroke lead at the end of the second round, shooting 65-65 to be 12 under par overall.

He earned his first Tour victory, achieving No.503-ranked full player status.

“It’s so surreal,” Lawrence said. “I don’t think anyone thought it would turn out that way, to end up on a Saturday afternoon, but I’m really, really grateful.

“It’s a life changing moment. It’s an amazing feeling.”

RELATED: Inside Lawrence’s Winning Bag

Play was suspended on Saturday morning – Lawrence just starting his third round – due to heavy rain and the threat of lightning.

Organizers said large parts of the course were unplayable, leaving officials with little choice but to give up.

“I don’t think anyone thought it would turn out that way, to end up on a Saturday afternoon, but I’m really, really grateful.” – Thirston Laurent.

Lawrence had even more reason to celebrate as a top spot secured him a spot for next year’s Open Championship in St. Andrews, with the players in second and third places – fellow South African Zander Lombard ( eight cents) and Ashley Chesters of England (seven).

Chesters was tied at seven under with Shaun Norris, who had previously secured an exemption for the Open.

“It’s a dream of a lifetime, and now it’s come true,” Lawrence said of the Open.

“I’ve never played in a major tournament, and playing your very first major tournament in St. Andrews is an incredible achievement for me. I can’t wait, I’m so excited.”

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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes