March 3, 2013
BEAUMONT - Former Lamar University golfer Dawie Van Der Walt picked up the biggest win of his professional career Sunday as he won the Tshwane Open by two strokes over fellow South African Darren Fichardt.
The win, which came in South Africa but is considered a European Tour event, will give Van der Walt his 2013 European Tour card. The Tshwane Open is one of six European Tour events held in South Africa, five of which were won by South Africans.
"You can only imagine what it's like to win such a big one," said Van der Walt. "I'm just really happy that I played well and won, because you can play well and not win. I don't know what I'll do yet. The purses are a lot bigger in The European Tour so I'll have to rethink some things."
Four players began the final day tied for the lead at 16-under-par. Van der Walt was able to pick up an eagle on the par-5, 685-yard fourth hole, the longest hole in European Tour history. He would birdie two of the next three holes at The Els Club Copperleaf to begin his march to victory.
Van der Walt opened the tournament with a 68 and followed with a 65 to head into the weekend at 11-under-par. He posted a pair of 67s on the weekend to pick up the first place prize money which totaled nearly $742,000.
Van der Walt was the 2007 Southland Conference Tournament champion and Player of the Year and a three-time Ping All-American. He finished fourth individually at the 2006 NCAA Championships, and helped the Cardinals tie for third at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
Fellow Lamar golfing alum Oliver Bekker tied for 21st place at 12-under-par to earn nearly $50,000.