THINK YOUNG PLAY HARD

Thris­ton Lawrence.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - BY BARRY HAVENGA

ON TURN­ING PRO AT 17

There was crit­i­cism when I turned pro af­ter win­ning the 2014 Lytham Tro­phy in the UK, and sub­se­quently as my ca­reer did not go as ex­pected. But I don’t re­gret the de­ci­sion.Yes, I was re­ally young, but the four years of ex­pe­ri­ence I have gained is in­valu­able. Peo­ple say you must be more pro­fes­sional in ev­ery­thing you do — that’s bullsh**t! I started work­ing out, and tweaked things to make my­self look good, and lost fo­cus on my golf swing. Then I lost con dence men­tally. That makes you shift from ar­riv­ing at a tour­na­ment with a win­ning men­tal­ity, to one where you are just think­ing about mak­ing the cut.

ON AL­MOST RUN­NING OUT OF MONEY

Play­ing on the Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour will toughen you up. Di er­ent lan­guages, cur­ren­cies, visas, food, play­ing con­di­tions and a host of other chal­lenges will test your fo­cus. I was down to my last £200 dur­ing an event in Bel­gium, know­ing that I owed my caddie £1 200 and I needed to get to France for the next event.You learn quickly about life when you are strug­gling.Try be­ing a 19-year-old in a ho­tel in the Czech Repub­lic with bad WiFi.

ON A FOR­TU­NATE AIR­PORT MEET­ING

While trav­el­ling through Europe in 2016 I bumped into Ian Watts, a for­mer Tay­lorMade rep (the com­pany I signed with when turn­ing pro). He had started a new man­age­ment com­pany — Mod­est Golf — with Mark McDon­nell which orig­i­nated from One Di­rec­tion su­per­star Niall Ho­ran’s mu­sic man­age­ment com­pany Mod­est! Ian o ered to help if he could and man­aged to get me into the Bridge­stone Chal­lenge in Eng­land. I nished se­cond which got me into more events and I landed up sign­ing with them. There have only seven golf clients, one of which is fel­low South African Chris­ti­aan Bezuiden­hout.

ON A SU­PER­STAR FRIEND

Niall Ho­ran loves golf. He and Rory McIl­roy are good friends and Niall has cad­died for his Ir­ish com­pa­triot at the Mas­ters Par 3 Con­test. I’ve played golf with Niall and he is very sup­port­ive of my ca­reer. With over 20 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers, it doesn’t hurt my own pro le when you are tagged in a photo with him!

ON HIS SUP­PORT STRUC­TURE

I’ve al­ways been a fighter, al­ways will­ing to grind it out, and will never give up. Maybe that’s why my match­play record was so good as an ama­teur. My par­ents (Steven and Heidi) taught me that from a young age. They have been in­cred­i­ble, al­ways pos­i­tive, al­ways en­cour­ag­ing – never neg­a­tive. My dad was my only coach un­til three years ago when I met Peter Ber­man in Knysna. Peter is low-key – most peo­ple don’t even know he is Branden Grace’s coach – and we work to­gether bril­liantly.

ON BE­ING IN­TER­RO­GATED WITH AN AK-47 IN KAZA­KHSTAN

Upon ar­riv­ing in Al­maty for the 2016 Kaza­khstan Open a land­ing card was in­serted into my pass­port which I didn't give much thought to. Dur­ing the week it fell out and when I tried to leave the coun­try (on a 5am flight) they de­manded to see the card. I had to take a taxi back to the ho­tel and then to a mil­i­tary base, where I was searched and ques­tioned by guards with AK-47s. My par­ents were try­ing to con­tact the SA em­bassy, but even­tu­ally they let me go and I de­parted on the 5pm flight. Don’t lose your land­ing card in Kaza­khstan!

ON 2018 PLANS

Win­ning the Sun­shine Tour Q School is a huge re­lief and I can now plan my sched­ule for the year. My man­age­ment com­pany has se­cured seven in­vites on the Euro Chal­lenge Tour, but I will only travel over there when there is a break on the Sun­shine Tour.

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