David Drysdale is delighted with his flying start to the new European Tour season and looked forward to 2019 by declaring: “Hopefully I can win a bloody tournament at some point.”
The 43-year-old from Cockburnspath is sitting third after four events in the Race to Dubai, having backed up a fifth-place finish in Hong Kong last month by claiming second spot in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on Sunday.
The latter was Drysdale’s 471st appearance on the European Tour, having chalked up 24 top 10s in that time and earning £4.8 million - but he’s still waiting on that elusive breakthrough victory.
“It’s nice to show a bit of form and long may it continue,” he told the Evening News en route from Leopard Creek to Johannesburg on Sunday night.
“As I’ve said to you many times, I don’t want to get to that 500th appearance without a win. It’s not easy to put yourself in that position, but I’ve had two or three good chances this year.
“Sunday was one of the few days that I have actually putted well on the back nine in the final round. If I had putted like that on the back nine in Holland (where he finished sixth in the KLM Open in September), I would probably have knocked that one off.
“If I can keep doing what I am doing, then hopefully I can win a bloody tournament at some point. I’ll just keep working hard.”
In contrast to this season, Drysdale made a slow start to the 2018 campaign, making just two cuts in his opening 11 events, and needed a strong finish to hang on to his card.
He was pleased, therefore, to come flying out of the blocks in the first event of the new season in Hong Kong and has wasted little time backing that up with another eye-catching performance.
“I know I had been playing well at the end of the season,” said the former Dunbar assistant pro, who has his wife Vicky caddying for him again this term. “I just hadn’t done it for four rounds.
“Hong Kong was the first time I had four rounds in the 60s on that golf course. I then ran out of steam at the weekend in Mauritius due to the heat and humidity there.
“Then last week I got my arm stuck in an electric gate at my mate’s house the day before the South African Open in Johannesburg. I shouldn’t have played but I then had some good rest and benefitted from that at Leopard Creek.
“I’ve been pleased with my short game, producing the shots around the green that keep rounds going and also made some nice par putts when I’ve needed to. My attitude has also been good. I’ve been staying patient and that’s been key as well.”
South Africa has been a happy hunting ground for Drysdale over the years and he closed with a five-under-par 67 – the joint-lowest round of the day – to pick up a cheque for just under £150,000.
“I played really solid all week,” he said, reflecting on a third second-place finish on the circuit and first since 2009. “I had the rough side of the draw on Thursday morning when it was really windy but played nicely.
“I got a couple of lucky breaks in the final round, to be fair, but played really solid for the most part.
“I would have loved if (winner) David Lipsky had hit it in the water at the last to give me a chance of a play-off, but I am delighted nonetheless.
“Leopard Creek really is a fantastic golf course. There are so many potential disasters but also so many potential eagle chances.
“It is demanding, especially in a sapping heat. I know they were saying on the forecast that it was 30-31C but it felt like 38-40C.
“I was absolutely knackered after Saturday’s round but, on Sunday, there was the odd bit of cloud cover that gave us a bit of a breather.”