16 Jul 2020 | Professional golf |

Digger goes deep in Austria

by Mark Hayes

Deyen Lawson hits a purple patch in Austria overnight.
Deyen Lawson hits a purple patch in Austria overnight.

He nearly didn’t make it to Austria, now Deyen Lawson sits atop a European Tour leaderboard.

Lawson, 29, poured in nine birdies, including seven in eight holes, to spark a stunning back-nine 28 as he carded a seven-under-par 63 at the Euram Bank Open.

The Victorian, now based on the Gold Coast, shares the lead after the first round at Austria’s picturesque Adamstal Golf Club.

Lawson, has only limited playing rights in his second year on the European Tour, and was unsure whether he’d fly to compete only three weeks ago.

Even then he needed a quirk of paperwork – that he’d spent sufficient time overseas in the previous two years – to be able to board his flight from Brisbane Airport last week after he didn’t have the right forms to easily escape Australia’s Covid-19 guidelines.

A T31 finish at last week’s Austrian Open – featuring a second-round 67 – gave a hint of the hard work he’d been doing on the Gold Coast.

But it all came together in an unexpected rush today for the former Curlewis Golf Club trainee.

Lawson made early birdies on the fourth and fifth holes, but looked to have frittered that start away with bogeys on the seventh and eighth.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the man known as “Digger” to his mates made birdies on the ninth and 10th holes, before five in a row from the 12th.

“I felt like I was hitting it all right, I was hitting it steady but made a couple of little errors late on the front nine,” Lawson told Europeantour.com website.

“(But) I stayed positive and took it shot by shot. I didn’t realise I’d made that many birdies in a row – after the nine I had six more in seven holes.

“I just tried to hit each shot as good as I can, not worrying about what it was for – for bogey or birdie.

“The views are great here, so you just have to look around when you’re a bit frustrated and take your mind off golf.

“These hills take your mind off golf pretty quickly. All in all it’s a good start.”

Lawson told the Australian PGA last week that he’d likely need a victory in his two-week Austrian swing to earn playing rights for the European Tour’s upcoming British swing.

Regardless, it’s a great fillip for the popular right-hander who had battled on the Challenge Tour earlier this year in South Africa.

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