• Tshwane Open, Round Four

Van der Walt fends off the pack for maiden title

ESPN staff
March 3, 2013
Dawie van der Walt won his first European Tour title © Getty Images

Tshwane Open leaderboard

Dawie van der Walt held his nerve to emerge from the pack and claim the inaugural Tshwane Open in Centurion on Sunday.

The 30-year-old South African shot a final round of 67 at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate to finish two shots clear of compatriot Darren Fichardt at 21-under par, as he claimed his first significant victory as a professional golfer.

"You can only imagine what it's like to win such a big one," said Van Der Walt. "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."

Fichardt and Van der Walt were among four players to begin the final round tied for the lead at 16-under, but it was the latter who made the decisive move to claim victory - with an eagle at the par-five fourth, followed by birdies at the sixth and seventh, giving him a platform to go on and win the tournament.

The other two overnight leaders, Charl Coetzee and Mark Tullo, dropped down the final reckoning after disappointing closing rounds of 72 and 77 respectively.

That enabled Louis de Jager, who double-bogeyed the first hole of the day, to rally back and claim third on his own at 18-under par after a closing 69, with American Peter Uihlein the best of the non-South Africans as he clinched fourth.

"Golf is a game where you don't get a lot of chances to win, and to do it is fantastic," Van der Walt continued. "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."

Elsewhere, Englishmen Danny Willett and David Howell both secured top ten finishes, with the former sharing fifth after a fine closing round of 66.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.