If there's any truth to the old saying, and God does indeed love a trier, then he must be head over heels for David Drysdale.
Four-hundred and ninety-eight times, the Scot has pegged it up on the European Tour. Four-hundred and ninety-eight times, he has left empty-handed.
Such is the nature of golf. Defeat is an all-too-regular companion. This is a sport where you are taught to meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.
That's the word on Drysdale's lips and occupying his thoughts this morning after his heart-breaking near-miss in yesterday's Qatar Masters. The 44-year-old suffered the agony of missing a putt to win on the 72nd hole before losing out to Jorge Campillo at the fifth hole of a sudden-death play-off.
It was his fourth runner-up finish on the tour and his first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2018.
However, as he reflected on his week's work over a coffee in Dubai this morning, he told bunkered.co.uk that’s he’s determined to accentuate the positives from his latest near-miss - and is, in fact, more confident than ever that he will finally land that elusive first European Tour title.
“Obviously, I’m a bit gutted but, equally, I’m happy knowing that I can hit the shots I need to hit when the pressure is on,” he said. “I hit enough good shots in the play-off to tell me that I’ve got what it takes. There’s just not a whole lot you can do when your opponent is holing putts from everywhere, like Jorge was. He’s some boy with the blade. It was unbelievable. The putt that he holed to win it, I knew ten feet out that it was right in the middle of the cup, so you’ve got to take your hat off to him.”
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Despite his disappointment at coming up just short, Drysdale said that his performance at Education City GC in Doha was a “big step up” given his struggles over the last 14 months.
Since that runner-up finish in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the Scot had played all four rounds of only ten of his 31 events before last week.
“It was nice to see a bit of form again after playing fairly awfully for quite a while,” he added. “It’s not been for the lack of trying. I’ve just not been playing particularly well. But hopefully I can carry forward the momentum from Qatar and get myself into positions to win a bit more often.
“I never knew I could perform under that kind of pressure before yesterday. What last week has shown me is that I can do it. I’d like to have putted a little better perhaps and I’d love to have that putt on the 72nd hole back but, whilst it was disappointing to miss out, I can’t afford to dwell on it. I had a couple of large whiskies on my flights to Muscat and then Dubai last night, which took the edge off. I just need to keep my chin up, stay positive and try to win next time.
That ‘next time’ should have been this week but, with the Kenya Open having been postponed by the Kenyan Government as it puts in place measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, Drysdale noe has a week off before celebrating his 45th birthday at the Hero Indian Open. His 500th start on the European Tour is, therefore, likely to come at Valderrama in the Andalucia Masters at the end of April.
In characteristically low-key fashion, he’s treating it the same as any other week. No big parties. No wild celebrations. Just another opportunity to win.
“That’s the one big ambition I’ve got left,” he added. “I wouldn’t like to walk away without having won at least once. It wasn’t to be yesterday – but there will be more days. Hopefully, I can make one of them count.”