Van Der Walt wins first Euro title

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

The 30-year-old Van Der Walt posted a final round 5-under-par 67 to finish at 21 under overall on the Els Club course at the Copperleaf Golf Estate.

The Texas-based golfer, who had only one bogey over the 72 holes, 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 inaugural event, co-sanctioned on the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

”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-5 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 at 18 under.

American Peter Uihlein, and winner of the 2010 US Amateur Championship, took another step closer to a maiden pro career win, finishing fourth with a 69 that included an eighth hole eagle for a 17-under total.