Thriston Lawrence made an emotional return to the winner’s circle by overturning a four-stroke deficit to claim the BMW International Open title.
It was a rollercoaster of a final day for the South African as he carded eight birdies and five bogeys on his way to a three under par 69, enough to reach 13 under par and defeat third round leader Joost Luiten by a single stroke at Golfclub München Eichenried.
Dutchman Luiten held a three-stroke overnight lead and he remained the man to catch until what proved to be a pivotal 17th hole. Lawrence carded one of only three birdies on the hole all day, while Luiten three-putted for a bogey which resulted in a two-shot swing and the lead belonged to the South African for the first time.
Both men parred the final hole which meant 26-year-old Lawrence claimed his second victory of the season and became the second South African after Ernie Els to triumph in the BMW International Open.
Luiten’s second place his best result on the 2023 Race to Dubai, while Max Kieffer finished as the leading German in a tie for third place alongside Kiwi Daniel Hillier, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino and Poland’s Adrian Meronk on 11 under par.
Lawrence, who has now won twice in each of the last two seasons, moves to 15th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, which is still led by Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
The BMW International Open’s Eagles for Education campaign came to a close with an additional 12 eagles being carded on day four, which brings the tournament total to 62 and means €62,000 will be donated to JOBLINGE and Kick ins Leben by the BMW Group.
“That means a lot,” said Lawrence as he fought back tears in the immediate aftermath. “I’m very emotional, to be honest. Going to America for six weeks, made one cut.
“This game is not easy. It was a real push today and I really gave it my all. I feel sorry for Joost. I know how tough this game is. I’m usually quite good at this, but, yeah, I don’t know what I’m so emotional about it. It just shows it means the world. And to get my fourth victory in Germany, is just unbelievable.
“I played really well today and at some stage I didn’t think I was going to make a par. It was birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey. Just taking, giving, taking, giving and I saw Joost miss that putt on 17. I know how tough those putts are on those greens. I mean it’s a lot of spikes, it’s stepped out and it wasn’t easy all day. I feel for him. I think that’s why I’m emotional as well because I know how tough this game is and everybody wants to win.”
“I got a bit emotional about it. It’s unbelievable. You put a lot of effort in this game and take the chance to go to America and play two majors and the Memorial and make one of those cuts.
“After my win in South Africa, I got the injury at the beginning of the year and just never really got momentum after that. I came into this week with a lot of confidence, hitting it really well. Once again, just proving if the putter works, I’m giving myself a chance and the putter was definitely on fire today. Just so pleased to get my fourth win out here.”