The South African, who was the first winner of the DP World Tour era last year, is looking to kick on from a memorable rookie campaign in which he won twice and made his Major debut in The 150th Open at St Andrews.
With the new campaign beginning just days after his debut appearance at the DP World Tour Championship – the season’s annual final event in Dubai – the 25-year-old is eager to draw on the processes that saw him enter the world’s top 100 for the first time.
“I had a great season last year and it feels funny because it is only a few days later but it is good to be back,” said Lawrence. “It is the first time I am defending a tournament that changed my life. I can’t wait for the week.
“The short-term goals are just to stick to the game plan and do what I did last year. You don’t really want to go towards the long-term goals, obviously everyone wants to win and copy and paste on a good season last year.”
Lawrence’s maiden Tour victory at Randpark Golf Club opened new doors in his career, with a new host venue in Houghton Golf Club awaiting the defending champion this time around.
“Houghton is a lot different to Randpark,” he said. “I think it is probably a little easier tee to green but once you are on the green the greens a very undulating.
“I think they are going to firm up and be quite quick, so it is a far different setting. I think I have played it twice, but it is definitely a cool venue for this event.”
The Joburg Open is one of four back-to-back tournaments co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, and one of six DP World Tour events in South Africa this season, as the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex gets under way.
The field for this week’s event includes Lawrence’s countryman Dylan Naidoo, who has played in the Joburg Open since he was an amateur and is a member of the Sunshine Tour’s Papwa Sewgolum Class for historically disadvantaged golfers.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old claimed his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in the SunBet Challenge Sun Sibaya and he is eager to impress once again.
“It is always really nice to play my hometown event,” he said.
“I have played this event since I was 16 years old, and it is a really special tournament to me, and I hope the change of venue is going to do me well.”