Van der Walt wins Lion of Africa Open

2013-11-04 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Tjaart van der Walt must have wondered if he would ever break through to the winner’s circle, but he put those doubts behind him with an emphatic six-stroke win yesterday in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.

He carded a final-round one-under-par 71 for a 14-under-par total of 274 to beat Michael Hollick, who fired the round of the day with his four-under 68 to finish on 280, while Hennie Otto, the midway leader, battled to a four-over 76 to finish third.

“The feeling is quite out there. I’m at a loss for words,” said Van der Walt.

“After so many seconds you start to wonder if it’s going to come through. It happened this week, so I’m over the moon.”

Van der Walt has recorded an array of runner-up finishes across the globe, including five on the Sunshine Tour, three on the Nationwide Tour, one on the PGA Tour, two on the European Tour and one on the Asian Tour.

And when he made bogey on the first in the final round after his scintillating seven-under-par 65 in the third round, his heart must have sank.

But he kept his head together in impressive fashion while his playing partner Otto was battling to get anything going, and birdies on six and eight were eventually enough to pull him clear of any but the most spectacular finish.

“At the turn I knew I had a lead, but this back nine can get tricky with the wind,” said Van der Walt. “I managed to pull off all of the shots I needed to. I persevered and stuck to what I know to work, and I pulled it off.”

Van der Walt has always been a cerebral golfer, turning to people close to him and to unlikely sources for support and assistance. “I feel like now we are at a point where our network and sports structure is incredible,” he said. “Everyone is pulling for me, and how can you not succeed with that? You have to just keep going.”

SCORES

274 - Tjaart van der Walt 69 69 65 71

280 - Michael Hollick 69 72 71 68

281 - Hennie Otto 66 68 71 76

282 - Jared Harvey 70 70 68 74

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