A refreshed Deyen Lawson says he is no longer intimidated by the European Tour elite as he resumes his rookie season at this week’s Trophy Hassan II in Morocco.
In addition to the European Tour regulars teeing it up at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Ewan Porter is coming out of retirement to play his first event on a major tour since the 2017 NSW Open, joining Lawson, Wade Ormsby, Jason Scrivener, Jake McLeod, Nick Cullen, Dimi Papadatos, Andrew Dodt and New Zealand’s Josh Geary who has received an invitation to play the tournament.
Given a hectic end to 2018 and quick start to this 2019 campaign through the European Tour’s desert swing, Lawson was able to regroup over a few weeks in Australia that included a win at the $150,000 Gold Coast Celebrity Pro-Am at Lakelands Golf Club.
The day after his win Lawson spent a day with long-term coach Darrell Brown and said it was a great opportunity to assess a start to the season that includes three top-30 finishes in eight starts.
"This is my first break after a long stint,” Lawson said prior to returning to Europe.
“It's the first time I've been able to sit and talk to my coach about how I feel and where I sit in the field mentally and physically.
"Obviously we're travelling all around the world so things like when to practise, when not to practise.
“You're always trying to learn and get better so it was good to be able to come back and see where I'm at and get ready for the next stint.”
Lawson has also spent time working with highly-regarded mental coach Sean Lynch and says the reinforcement of some simple messages has helped in his transition into one of the world’s biggest tours.
"Every week I'm going somewhere that I've never been before,” Lawson explained.
“New environments, new courses, new grass, new everything.
“I've spoken to my coach and also Sean Lynch about forgetting why you're there in the first place.
“It's hard not to see top guys and force the issue when the reality is I just need to play my game.
“It's good enough to compete and the week that it clicks and you roll a few putts in you may not win but you might finish near the top of the leaderboard. It's a good tour to finish top-10 on.”
In his first event as a European Tour member Lawson was tied for 30th at the Honma Hong Kong Open, just four shots outside the top-10.
It was early proof to Lawson that consistency across the four rounds – and not the spectacular – is what leads to the big cheques.
“In Qatar there were nine guys tied for second, three shots back was like 25th. If you can play four shots better over the course of four rounds you win,” said Lawson, who was in contention at Qatar until a third round 76.
"It's so bunched and sometimes I found myself trying to force it a bit too much and trying to push.
“That then leads to a couple of bogeys which makes you 25th rather than eighth. But the more you can get that out of your head then the easier it gets.
"You see that from the top guys on the weekend. They're forever just playing really solid golf and then when they play really well on the weekend they win.
“They just manage to shoot a couple of 3-unders or 4-unders and finish eighth. That's the reason they are so good because they show up every week.”
Two aces have been the highlights of Lawson’s rookie season to date, leading to one amusing moment as he flew home after missing the cut at the Magical Kenya Open.
"Flying back on one of the Emirates flights, they replay some of the tour events and I saw on the seat in front of me someone watching the Dunhill and me getting the hole in-one,” Lawson said of his hole-in-one at the Alfred Dunhill Championship that won him a BMW 850M worth around $250,000.
“I had a little chuckle to myself over that one and went back to sleep.”
The European Challenge Tour also resumes this week with the Turkish Airlines Challenge where Ben Eccles is the lone Australian in the field, first reserve Jack Munro hoping for a late withdrawal so he too can tee it up.
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