Lawrence held a four-stroke lead going into Saturday’s third round of the opening event of the new European Tour season.
It had already been reduced to 54 holes to allow foreign golfers, caddies and support staff to return home, with international travel restrictions imposed after the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa.
Thriston Lawrence joins the winners circle 💪#JoburgOpen https://t.co/PswePCd7sF
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) 1638023400000
But when lightning threatened around midday local time as the third round just getting underway, the field was called into the clubhouse and after a four-hour delay, with no prospect of getting play completed on day three, organisers decided the result would be called after 36 holes.
Lawrence hit successive 65s for a two-round total of 130, 12-under-par. Zander Lombard was second on eight under, a shot clear of another South African Shaun Norris and England’s Ashley Chesters.
It was the 24-year-old Lawrence’s first success on the European Tour.
“It’s so surreal,” he said. “I don’t think anyone thought it would turn out this way, to finish on a Saturday afternoon but I’m just really thankful. It’s a life-changing moment for me.”