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Van Der Walt rallies to win by 2 in South Africa
Durban, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Dawie Van Der Walt fired a 4-under 66 on Saturday and came from behind to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two strokes.
Van Der Walt, who won for the second time this calendar year, finished the championship at 15-under-par 195.
"It's obviously really special, making you a part of history. Winning the Nelson Mandela at this time, when it's sad for everyone, everyone is mourning and tomorrow's the big day, it means a lot and it's something I can keep close to my heart forever," Van Der Walt stated.
Jorge Campillo and Matthew Baldwin closed with 2-under 68s and shared second place at minus-13 at Mount Edgecombe Country Club, which was shortened from a par 71 to a par 70 by wet conditions from heavy rain earlier in the week.
Due to that heavy rain, the event was shortened to 54 holes. The finish was moved up one day as Sunday is the funeral for the tournament's namesake, Nelson Mandela.
Romain Wattel posted a 3-under 67 to grab fourth at 12-under 198, while Oliver Bekker was one shot back after closing with a 1-under 69.
John Hahn fired a 5-under 65 to end at 10-under-par 200. He was joined in sixth place by Branden Grace (70), Jaco Ahlers (66) and Adrien Saddier (67).
Second-round leader Daniel Brooks dropped four shots in the first four holes and wasn't a factor the remainder of the round. He ended with a 6-over 76, which dropped him into a tie for 11th at 8-under 202.
Brooks stumbled to bogeys at one and two. At the short par-4 fourth, his drive landed in a bunker short of the putting surface. He blasted his second well over the green into thick rough and that led to a double bogey, which dropped him from the lead.
Van Der Walt, who was four back to start the day, stumbled to a bogey on the second, but came right back with a birdie putt from about 30 feet out at the third.
The South African made it two in a row as he rolled in a 7-footer for birdie on the fourth. A 6-foot birdie putt at the sixth gave Van Der Walt a share of the lead at minus-13.
Van Der Walt stumbled to bogeys at eight and 11, but was just one back. He atoned for those bogeys with his second eagle of the week at the par-5 12th.
At the 13th, Van Der Walt rolled in an 8-footer for birdie to move to 14- under, where he was two clear of the field. He birdied the 15th from just over 20 feet out to move his lead back to two, and that where it ended as he parred the final three holes.
"I haven't been in that good form. I've been struggling with an injury, so this is almost overwhelming," Van Der Walt said. "To win the last event of the year is going to make Christmas a lot more fun."
Baldwin faltered to a bogey at the first, but bounced back with three consecutive birdies from the second. He gave another stroke back at the seventh. Baldwin briefly grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at 12, but he closed with six straight pars to end at minus-13.
Campillo ran off 11 consecutive pars to begin his round. He carded back-to- back birdies at 12 and 13 to get to 13-under. Campillo tripped to a bogey at the 15th, but came right back with a birdie at 16.
NOTES: Van Der Walt earned 158,500 euros for the win, and he also won the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit. The Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned this event ... The tour will resume Jan. 9, when Louis Oosthuizen defends his title at the Volvo Golf Champions.
12/14 12:04:04 ET
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