Victory at last for van der Walt

03/11/2013 16:45:18
Tjaart Van Der Walt  (Getty Images)
Tjaart Van Der Walt (Getty Images)
Tjaart van der Walt carded one under par 71 to claim an emphatic six stroke win in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.

The Saint Omer runner-up’s 14 under par total of 274 was enough to comfortably beat Michael Hollick, who fired the round of the day with his four under 68, while Hennie Otto, the midway leader, battled to a four over 76 to finish third.

When he came second on a major tour for the 13th time in his career – at The European Tour’s Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open presented by Neuflize OBC – this victory must have seemed more elusive than ever.

“The feeling is quite out there! I’m at a loss for words,” said van der Walt after collecting his maiden title. “After so many seconds you start to wonder it’s going to come through.  It happened this week, so I’m over the moon.”

He had recorded an array of runner-up finishes across the globe, including five on the Sunshine Tour, three on the Nationwide Tour, one on the US 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.

“At the turn I knew I had a lead, but this back nine can get tricky with the wind,” he said. “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.

“You have to just back yourself and go for it. If you pack in and stop playing then you will never know. I am living proof that you should never, never give up.”