End-of-year celebrations remain on hold for five Australian professionals as the European Tour’s 2019 season continues at the South African Open at Johannesburg’s Randpark Golf Club [above].
While many players used last week’s Australian PGA Championship as the signal to put the clubs away for 2018, recent Q-School graduates and those with limited European Tour status are taking advantage of the opportunity to further improve their position.
By finishing 21st on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, Dimitrios Papadatos will have access to enough starts to build a decent schedule on the main tour, his performance at the PGA at RACV Royal Pines Resort not hurting his cause.
In contention to win the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit heading into the weekend at the PGA, Papadatos ultimately finished tied for 19th, a result that places him equal 56th on the Race to Dubai rankings after just three events. His runner-up finish at the Australian Open has already secured Papadatos a place in the British Open at Royal Portrush, but a strong two weeks in South Africa could open up even more playing opportunities in the new year.
A Qualifying School graduate along with Nick Cullen, who is also playing in South Africa this week, Deyen Lawson made his debut as a full member of the European Tour at the Honma Hong Kong Open where his tie for 30th places him in 52nd position early in the Race to Dubai.
Cullen and Lawson both missed the cut at Royal Pines, as did Newcastle’s Jake Higginbottom, who will also tee it up at Randpark Golf Club along with Asian Tour veteran David Gleeson.
England’s Chris Paisley returns to defend the title he won at Glendower Golf Club last year, but will have to cope with a strong local contingent including Brandon Stone, Branden Grace and South African Major winners Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.