Tshwane Open: Dawie Van der Walt posts maiden European Tour victory
South African Dawie Van der Walt fired a closing five-under 67 to win the inaugural Tshwane Open by two shots.
Last Updated: 03/03/13 3:12pm
The 30-year-old, who had never even won on the local Sunshine Tour, started the day in a four-way tie for the lead with compatriots Darren Fichardt and Charl Coetzee along with Chile's Mark Tullo.
But, after Fichardt and Coetzee made the early moves with birdies at two and three on the lengthy par 72 Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate in Centurion, Van der Walt came alive with an eagle at the fourth.
Further birdies at six and seven saw him reach the turn with a one-shot lead and, despite a bogey at 10 (his only one of the week), he kept his nerve down the stretch as his rivals stumbled and further birdies at 12 and 15 helped him post victory with 21-under.
Tullo blew up with a run of bogey, double bogey, bogey from the 11th to slip right out of contention while Coetzee was handed a one-shot penalty for slow play to end his lingering hopes.
Fichardt, looking for his second home-soil win in the space of three weeks after capturing the Africa Open, remained Van der Walt's biggest threat but just couldn't find birdies on the back nine.
Van der Walt, who shot a final round 60 when runner-up on the Nationwide Tour's Cox Classic in America last August, increased his lead to two shots with a two-putt birdie on 15 and made safe pars at 16 and 17 to keep his cushion heading up the last.
There was one last scare when he raced his birdie putt by at the last but, when Fichardt missed his 15 footer for a three to make it nine straight pars on the back nine, Van der Walt holed the return effort to close out his first ever pro victory.
Louis de Jager (69) finished a further shot behind second-placed Fichardt to make it an all-South African top three while American Peter Uihlein (69) was a further stroke in arrears in fourth.