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Van Der Walt Emotional after Nelson Mandela Championship Triumph
Dawie Van Der Walt held his nerve and his emotions just long enough to close out a famous victory and take home the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots to claim his second European Tour title.
The tournament had been previously reduced to 54 holes after several disruptions of bad rainfall halted proceedings. However, the South African followed up rounds of 67 and 62 with a wonderful score of 66 to sit at the top of the pile on 15 under par in Durban.
A mixture of three birdies and three bogeys on the opening 11 holes was still enough to move him to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle on the par-five 12th; he then picked up further shots on the 13th and 15th to finish ahead of England’s Matthew Baldwin and Spaniard Jorge Campillo.
The 30-year-old admitted that this victory was very emotional, coming so soon after the death of Nelson Mandela.
Van Der Walt won his first Tour event in the Tshwane Open back in March, but said nothing was quite like winning this game.
“It’s obviously really special, making you a part of history,” he told www.europeantour.com on Saturday.
“Winning the Nelson Mandela at this time, when it’s sad for everyone, everyone is mourning and tomorrow’s the big day (Mandela’s funeral), it means a lot and it’s something I can keep close to my heart for ever.
“I haven’t been in that good form, I’ve been struggling with an injury, so this is almost overwhelming.
“To win the last event of the year is going to make Christmas a lot more fun.”