The Punter's De-brief: Odds-on Lawrence flops at the Joburg

Golfer Dean Burmester
Dean Burmester after his victory at the Joburg Open

Dean Burmester has won the Joburg Open and Min Woo Lee the Australian PGA Championship. Our man looks back on their victories here...

  • Burmester and Lee win in style

  • Read my South African Open preview here

  • Read my Hero World Challenge preview here


  • The well-backed pre-event 20.019/1 chance, Thriston Lawrence, was in-the-mix from the get-go at the Joburg Open.

    The 26-year-old was trading at less than 2/13.00 when he led after round one and although he'd lost the lead, he shortened up to around 13/82.63 when he trailed 1000.0999/1 chance, Nikhil Rama, by a stroke at halfway.

    A steady three-under-par 67 on Saturday saw Lawrence ease three clear of the rest and he went into Sunday's fourth and final round trading at 1.728/11. And that didn't look too short given he'd converted both of his two previous 54-hole leads on the DP World Tour - at the European Masters and the South African Open last year.

    Thriston lawrence joburg.jpg

    He was matched at a low of 1.51/2 but a poor decision on the second hole after a bad drive set the tone for the day and it wasn't long before he went from an odds-on favourite to a no hoper.

    Lawrence hit is tee shot on the tough par four second right of the fairway and into the trees but instead of taking his medicine and chipping out sideways, he attempted an ambitious cut shot to try and get as close as he could to the green, but it came out straight and into a thick bougainvillea bush on the other side of the fairway.

    His ball was eventually found, and he took a penalty drop but it resulted in a double-bogey six and a flustered leader with only a one-stroke lead.

    The double at two was followed by a bogey at three and another at five and by the time he reached the sixth tee he'd gone form three clear to two behind.

    With a straightforward two-putt birdie four at five, pre-event 14.013/1 chance, Dean Burmester, who had been a 3/14.00 chance when trailing by three after 54 holes, eased to the front and he was never headed after that.

    My 80.079/1 in-play pick, Darren Fichardt, hit a low of 4.216/5, Zander Lombard was matched at 5.04/1 and the defending champ, Dan Bradbury, was matched a 5.85/1 but after Lawrence's shaky start, it never really looked like anyone other than Burmester would win.

    Without doing anything spectacular he turned in two-under-pat before a flawless four-under-par back-nine saw him go on to win by three over Fichardt and by five over the rest and he now heads to the Gary Player designed Blair Atholl for the South African Open as the warm favourite.

    Lee cruises to victory in his homeland

    Over at the Australian PGA Championship, pre-event 9/110.00 chance, Min Woo Lee, cruised to an impressive three-stroke victory at Royal Queensland and he now heads to The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney as the 5/16.00 favourite to win the Australian Open.

    The Perth-born 25-year-old was a 3.412/5 chance when he sat second after round one but he was never headed after that.

    Min Woo Lee wins Aussie PGA.jpg

    He was a 2.1411/10 shot when he led Adam Scott by a stroke at halfway and he was trading at just 1.3130/100 when he led by three with a round to go.

    Q-School grads worth keeping an eye on

    Darren Fichardt wasn't the only man to contend in the Joburg Open that had recently earnt their 2024 DP World Tour card at the Final Stage of Q School a fortnight ago.

    In addition to Fichardt finishing second, Jacques Kruyswijk finished tied for fourth and Darius Van Driel ended the week in tied ninth so it may well be worth checking out the grads in the field this week too.

    Having so recently secured their playing privileges, they're obviously going to be feeling good about them selves so check out Ben Coley's excellent piece here with a brief take on all 33 to make it through.

    After a week off, the PGA Tour returns and so does Tiger Woods, as he hosts the Hero World Challenge, which I've previewed here, and we've got two more events on the DP World Tour again.

    The Australian Open at the Lakes and the South African Open in Johannesburg, which I've previewed here.


    *You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


    Read my Hero World Challenge preview here


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