Van der Walt keeps his nerve to seal his first European Tour victory
European Tour – Tshwane Open: Dawie van der Walt claimed the biggest victory of his career to win the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf GC, South Africa by two shots ahead of fellow South African Darren Fichardt.
Another South African Louis De Jager was third a further shot back as Van der Walt picked up his first tour win of the season.
Van der Walt finished with a five under par 67 as he picked up his first win on the European Tour.
He was part of a four-way tie for the lead at the start of the day with Fichardt, compatriot Charl Coetzee and Chile’s Mark Tullo. Coetzee and Fichardt went clear after they birdied the second and third holes, but Van der Walt drew level after he eagled the par four fourth.
Fichardt retook the lead after another under par score on the fifth, but by the turn Van der Walt was in front after consecutive birdies.
Tullo and Coetzee were out of the picture after fading on the last nine, while a bogey on the 10th for Van der Walt was negated by birdies at the 12th and 15th put him two clear.
It proved vital as he closed with three consecutive pars to seal the title. “You can only imagine what it’s like to win such a big one,” Van der Walt said afterwards. “I’m just really happy that I played well and won, because you can play well and not win.
“You start doubting yourself and at 30 years old you start to wonder if you’re good enough and this shows me that I am. I would have liked to win before 30, but I’ll definitely take this.
“Golf is a game where you don’t get a lot of chances to win, and to do it is fantastic.
“I don’t know what I’ll do yet. The purses are a lot bigger in The European Tour, so I’ll have to rethink some things. You can make your own schedule, which is important. I hit the ball really good and I never really had to chip, which is not my strength. If you hit a lot of greens and don’t three-putt then you’re going to do well.”
Damien McGrane was best of the Irish with a closing 69 for a 277 total, 10 adrift of Van der Walt’s winning figure. Darren Clarke also closed with a 69 for a tally of 283.
Women’s Tour:Stacy Lewis became the second successive American golfer to win the HSBC Champions after a thrilling final day at the Sentosa Golf Club yesterday.
The world number four overcame the dogged pursuits of fellow US star Paula Creamer and South Korea’s Choi Na Yeon to win her sixth LPGA Tour title. and the $210,000 first-place purse. “It was nerve-wracking – I’m not sure how I saw it out but this win makes me so happy right now,” said the 2012 LPGA player of the year, whose one-under 71 saw her sign off with a 273 total.
A shot adrift in second spot was world number two Choi (72), while Creamer (71) took third, a further stroke back. Thai prodigy Ariya Jutanugarn’s good form continued as she claimed fourth spot with a tally of 278.