Sport has always been an emotional rollercoaster. David Law’s thrilling victory in the Vic Open yesterday, his first win on the European Tour, would’ve probably brought a tear to a clump of granite. It certainly did to another hardy Aberdeen perennial. “We were sitting there greetin’,” said Paul Lawrie as he watched his protégé seal a dramatic, one-shot triumph in Australia.
In just his fifth start as a full member of the main circuit, Law knocked off a fine win as he showed all the sturdy attributes of the aforementioned clump of rock that’s synonymous with his home city. Having to call a penalty on himself on the ninth hole of the final round could have derailed his push but he mounted a rousing offensive on the closing stretch and cracked a beautifully flighted fairway wood into the last which set up a putt of eight-feet for an eagle which he seized, When Wade Ormsby, playing in the final group, failed to get the eagle he needed, the title, a tour exemption and a cheque for over £135,000 belonged to Law.
Lawrie’s 4-iron at Carnoustie to seal the Open in 1999 is seared on the memories. Law’s victory may not be of the same magnitude as a major but the shot that set up the 27-year-old’s breakthrough success – conjuring a cracker when he needed to on the last – will always resonate as a decisive career moment.
“He had a chance to win and at this level, when you get an opportunity, you have to take it and he did,” said Lawrie, who has been mentoring Law since his teenage years through his own flourishing Foundation. “It’s all about mentality. All these guys on tour can play, they all have great ability. But it comes down to handling the situation when it presents itself in front of you. And David handled it superbly.
“He’s always been good in those situations and he stood up to be counted. When you have that in your locker it’s huge. He put the penalty to the back of his mind too and kicked on. That’s shows great strength.”
Law’s personal and professional ups-and-downs have been well-documented in domestic circles. The tragic still-birth of his baby son, Freddie, a couple of years ago was a harrowing experience which, inevitably, affected his golf. A first victory on the Challenge Tour last summer after five years at the coalface, which helped him earn promotion to the top table, was warmly celebrated by all and sundry. The birth of a healthy daughter in December was a fitting way to end the year for the talented, hard-working and hugely popular Law. “The win may have arrived earlier than expected but the people who know him know he’s at that level. He sent me a text on Saturday saying he felt really comfortable on the course so straight away that’s what you want. That’s a great place to be. He felt like he belonged there and he went out the next day and won. He’ll enjoy this but he’ll get it out of his system and get back into it on Tuesday at the next event. You have to enjoy success. You have to celebrate them but then you quickly get focussed and crack on again.”
The level-headed Law, a former Scottish boys’ and men’s amateur champion, will no doubt heed the pearls of wisdom of his mentor. “It’s life changing,” said Law, who is staying on in Australia for this week’s World Super 6 event in Perth. “It’s a cheque I’ve never earned before, I can plan a schedule properly and now look at all the events I can play in. It’s been tough to get here but it’s all taken off and long may it continue. I hope it’s the start of a long career on the tour. To be a winner now is amazing. There have been a lot of tough times so when you have an experience like this you have to enjoy it.”