Dawie van der Walt shot a 4-under 66 Saturday to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots, giving the tournament a South African victory in a week when the country bids farewell to its former president.
It was always going to be a special week. But Dawie van der Walt had no idea it would be this special. With a final round of 66 on Saturday, Van der Walt won the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa. And more than the title, the trophy, the cheque and the prestige, he will look with wonder at the portrait.
Dawie Van Der Walt was born 2/11/83 in South Africa. When he was in high school, he ranked as the number 2 amateur golfer in South Africa. During that time, he also played in the South Africa Amateur, British Amateur, St. Andrews Trophy Links, and the South Africa Open.
Van Der Walt studied and played golf at Lamar University. He was named the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year, in addition to many other medalist honors during his collegiate career. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 105th US Amateur at historic Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA. He finished in the top 20 at many amateur tournaments during this time, as well.
Dawie turned professional in 2007, and has amassed many top 20 finishes since then. He played on the Sunshine Tour and US mini-tours. Between 2008 and 2011 he won four mini-tour events. He also won the Sunshine Tour order of merit in 2013. Van Der Walt currently plays on the Web.com, Sunshine and European Tour where his best finish was 1st at the 2013 Tshwane Open and 1st at the Nelson Mandela Championship earning him a European Tour exemption until end of 2015. He also finished 2nd at the 2012 Cox Classic as well as the 2013 Brasil Classic presented by HSBC.