Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor rounded off a fine individual year by winning the European Disabled Golfer’s Association (EDGA) Dubai Finale by four shots at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Lawlor carded a round of 73 on the Earth Course for a winning total of one under par, holding off the challenge of Canadian Kurtis Barkley for his third victory in the five event series.
The 24 year old held a two shot overnight advantage after opening with a two under par round of 70 on Friday, but after a level par front nine, that lead was cut to just a single shot on the 14th hole.
Barkley, who was two over on the front nine, had birdied the tenth to apply some pressure at the top of the leaderboard, moving to one over par as Lawlor slipped back to level par due to three bogeys and one birdie after the turn.
However, Barkley dropped shots on the 16th and 18th holes for a round of 75 to finish on three over par, while Lawlor birdied the 15th and 17th either side of a bogey on the 16th to move back into the red for the tournament, safely making par on the 18th to seal a four shot victory.
“Going into the back nine I was actually quite nervous as I knew I had a bit of a lead,” said Lawlor, who is now expected to return to Number One in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD). “It was down to two at one stage and my putting wasn’t one hundred percent, but I got the job done and that is what matters.
“My ball striking has been unbelievable all week. The only bad shot I hit today was on 16, I pulled that one left but I will put that down to nerves. Probably tee to green that is the best I have ever played and I also haven’t been working much on my game. I’ve been suffering from a bad shoulder for the past six weeks and haven’t been playing, so maybe it’s good to have a break sometimes and forget about the clubs. So, to come out this week and play well, I am really delighted.”
Lawlor also won the first two tournaments of 2021, the EDGA Cazoo Open at the Celtic Manor Resort and the ISPS HANDA World Disability Invitational at Massereene and Galgorm, with Chris Biggins (USA) winning the EDGA Cazoo Classic and Kipp Popert claiming the EDGA Hero Open.
The EDGA Dubai Finale took place concurrently with the second and third rounds of the European Tour’s season-ending Rolex Series event, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which itself concludes on Sunday. Lawlor will receive his trophy as part of the live presentation alongside the winner of that tournament and the winner of the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai.
“Hopefully the European Tour have more events next year, which I think they will, and we can keep this ball rolling as it’s just fantastic,” said Lawlor. “I came off the green there and Rory McIlroy gave me congratulations so that is pretty outrageous.
“I have learned a lot, and to be honest I have learned a lot since the whole EDGA events have started. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be patient. If I was in today’s situation about two years ago, I reckon I would have lost, after the few bogies I made early on, I would have lost my head, or I was just a wee bit inexperienced, but I had faith in my abilities to make birdies out there and I knew I could make a few on the back nine. Dad was very good today, kept me calm when I needed to stay calm. Unbelievable.
“Dad has been on the bag this whole journey, and this wouldn’t have started if it wasn’t for him. All my family are here this week, Rebecca my girlfriend and my mum as well. It is so nice to have everyone out here, experiencing lovely countries, taking them all over the world and winning trophies.”
Barkley finished runner up on three over par while current World Number One Kipp Popert (74) share third place with England’s Mike Browne (78) on six over par. Italy’s Tommaso Perrino finished fifth on eight over par, with America’s Christ Biggins (sixth), Sweden’s Felix Norrman (seventh) and Belgium’s Adem Wahbi (eighth) completing the leaderboard.