It’s been quite the ride for now 30-year old Lucas Bjerregaard. It wasn’t that long ago that the great Dane was tipped for great things in the game of golf.
He looked set to establish himself as a top-50 player – twice a winner on the European Tour with victories at the Portugal Masters in 2017 and the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2018.
A year later, he arguably completed an even more impressive feat, taming Tiger Woods at the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play before an eventual semi-final defeat.
Bjerregaard looked a lock for a big Ryder Cup career for Europe with a trajectory that suggested he’d be ticking off not only regular tour titles but Major titles, too. Then golf happened.
Ah yes, golf, perhaps the most fickle of games. So rarely kind and so often cruel. Covid hardly helped Bjerregaard but in truth, his game was plummeting before it. He entered last week’s Portugal Masters in 136th place on the Race to Dubai standings and alarmingly, the one-time top-50 player had plunged to 664th in the world.
You see, even a talent as mighty as Bjerregaard’s is vulnerable to the perils of this great game but even in the face of such adversity, mega talent and belief was somehow retained.
Needing to play his way into the top-122 on the money list to secure his main tour future, a bogey on 16 on Sunday proved nothing more than a speed-bump when in reality, Bjerregaard would’ve been forgiven for capitulating altogether given the downward spiral he’s suffered of late.
No wonder then, after bouncing back with a birdie-birdie finish at the Dom Pedro course where he won in 2017, Bjerregaard broke down in tears with his tied second result just his second top-10 in some two and a half years.
“It’s never meant as much to me,” an emotional Bjerregaard admitted, jumping to 100 on the R2D standings and thus securing his card for next year with one tournament to spare.
“I haven’t felt comfortable all week but I did what I came here to do. Even though I didn’t feel like I’d played very well. That kind of sunk in with that putt on the last.
“It’s never meant this much to me”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 7, 2021
“This week I didn’t even have to say anything to my caddie but I could sense it was him and I against everyone.
“I didn’t feel like I’d played well at any stage really. I felt like it could all go wrong. But I found a way and hit a terrible drive on 18, but a great recovery out of the bunker. To make that putt was pretty good.
“I wanted to go out there and try and win, if I did that it would take care of everything. I got off to a good start, played alright.
“Didn’t make birdie on 12, didn’t birdie 15, then bogeyed 16. A couple of birdies there – a par on 16 and everything would have looked very different.”
To be able to produce with your livelihood on the line, all the while without your best stuff, is mightily impressive.
Born in August 1991, Bjerregaard’s still plenty young enough to fulfil his early promise. Delivering in the heat of battle on Sunday will no doubt heal the wounds of what’s been a demoralising spell on the fairways of late.
If Bjerregaard can now use his scar-tissue to reinforce his armour into next season, then maybe the second coming of one of Europe’s top talents is closer than we think.