Van Der Walt wins 1st European Tour title

Dawie Van Der Walt poses with the trophy after winning the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate.

Dawie Van Der Walt poses with the trophy after winning the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate.

CENTURION, South Africa — Dawie Van Der Walt became the fifth South African winner in 10 European Tour events this season with his two-shot victory at the Tshwane Open on Sunday.

Van Der Walt posted a final round 5-under 67 to finish at 21-under overall for his first win on the Tour.

The Texas-based golfer is ranked 436th in the world. Van Der Walt was among four players tied for the lead after the third round, including fellow South African Darren Fichardt, who shot 69 to finish second at 19-under in the European and Sunshine Tour event.

"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," Van Der Walt said. "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 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."

Local favorite Fichardt broke the early deadlock atop the leaderboard with birdies at Nos. 2 and 3.

Van Der Walt then countered by holing a 40-foot putt for eagle at the longest hole in the 41-year history of the European Tour — the 685-yard par five, fourth hole.

Fichardt responded with a birdie at the fifth but Van Der Walt birdied the sixth and seventh holes and held the lead from there. South African Louis De Jager posted a 69 to finish third on 18-under.

2010 US Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein is still seeking his first pro win. He was fourth with a 69 that included an eighth hole-eagle for a 17-under total.

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