David Drysdale's agony turns to joy as he gets into Nedbank Challenge
The 41-year-old thought he’d missed out on a place in this week’s Nedbank Challenge, the second of the European Tour’s Final Series, after seeing a seven-foot birdie putt spin out of the hole at the last in Belek.
But, as headed to Antalya airport to catch a flight to Gatwick, Drysdale got a phone call to say that, by climbing nine spots to 83rd in the Race to Dubai rankings, he had secured the last of the 78 spots in the Sun City event so was jumping on a plane to Johannesburg instead with his wife, Vicky.
The Scot has US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed to thank for extending his season by at least another week as the US Ryder Cup star has declined an invitation that was extended to him after he withdrew from the event in Turkey over safety fears.
A closing 71 for a nine-under-par 275 at the Regnum Carya resort left Drysdale in joint-13th behind Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, earning the 41-year-old just over £85,000, and he’s now got another chance to earn some serious money as the Nedbank Challenge also carries a £5.7 million prize pot.
Drysdale, who started the final day in joint-ninth, birdied the fifth before escaping with a par at the next after his ball bounced four times in a burn before jumping out of the hazard.
He then birdied the long seventh, but that proved to be his last gain of the week and shots had been dropped at the eighth and 12th before he was unable to finish on a high as the putt at the last hit the right edge of the hole and spun away.
“I’m disappointed to play as average as I did today,” he admitted. “I missed a lot of putts from around three to four feet and the one at the last was certainly sore. It’s a decent finish, but I just didn’t putt well enough.
“Thankfully, though, I’ve made it to Sun City and I’m absolutely delighted about that, especially as I’ve played there before in the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour.”
Paul Lawrie was the only one of the four Scots in the field to break par on the final day but the 47-year-old was “mega frustrated” as he signed off with a 70 to finish joint-43rd on four-under.
“I played all right again but putted really poorly,” he said. “It is frustrating because after Portugal, where my putting was as good as it’s ever been, I didn’t expect to putt like I did here.
“It was just dreadful. In Portugal, I holed three or four putts outside 20 feet each day yet here I can’t think of one over the four days.”
Like Drysdale, Lawrie’s 2016 campaign is now finished but both Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay are heading to South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge. Warren finished joint-47th on one-under after a closing 71 while Ramsay slipped 30 spots to joint-52nd after a disappointing 74.
“It was a wee but up and down today, but overall it was a decent finish and now I’m looking forward to Sun City, where I played two years ago and felt it suited my game,” said Warren.
Ramsay described his closing effort as “rubbish” and was left shaking his head in disbelief over a “duffed chip” at the ninth then a “duffed rescue” at the next.
“I’m pretty pissed off, to be honest, as I had so many stupid bogeys and have cost myself a barrowload,” said the 33-year-old. “I’ve turned an eight-hour flight to South Africa into a 24-hour one as I’ll be ramped up the whole way and not be able to sleep.”