Van der Walt holding firm

1/8/2012 10:44:59 AM
Tjaart van der Walt  (Getty Images)
Tjaart van der Walt (Getty Images)
Tjaart Van der Walt showed few signs of nerves as he moved ahead of Major Champions Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen when the final round of the Africa Open began.

Sharing the overnight lead with defending champion and former Open Champion Oosthuizen, Van der Walt birdied the first from ten feet, sunk a 15 footer at the next, and was left with a tap-in for a hattrick of gains at the par five third.

That took Van der Walt – without a win in 15 years as a professional - to 24 under par at East London Golf Club, which was announced as the Africa Open’s host for the next five years earlier in the day.

Despite Van der Walt’s flurry of birdies, the expected challenge was coming from both Oosthuizen and Goosen – himself without a European Tour title for five years.

Oosthuizen, joint leader with Van der Walt overnight, birdied the first, bogeyed the second, then rolled in a 15 foot eagle putt at the next.

Two-time US Open Champion Goosen holed a 20 foot eagle putt of his own at the third, and with a birdie on the opening hole had joined Oosthuizen on 23 under par.

It looked like a shootout between the three South Africans, with Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth fourth on 21 under after five birdies in his first six holes.

Another South African, Lyle Rowe, sunk a five footer at the sixth for six straight birdies which lifted him to fifth on 19 under.

Oosthuizen bogeyed the fifth but responded with three birdies in four holes to turn in 33. 

He was joined at the top by Van der Walt, who birdied the eighth, but Goosen fell three behind when he took three from the edge of the tenth green and bogeyed.