'Special' win for van der Walt at Nelson Mandela Championship

South Africa's Dawie van der Walt looks skywards after winning the Nelson Mandela golf championship.

Story highlights

  • South Africa's Dawie van der Walt wins the Nelson Mandela golf championship
  • It was a 'special' victory for van der Walt, his title coming a day before Mandela's funeral
  • Van der Walt beat Matthew Baldwin and Jorge Campillo by two shots in Durban
  • The 337th-ranked van der Walt triumphed on the European Tour for a second time

When Dawie van der Walt said capturing the Nelson Mandela golf championship was "special," you can believe him.

He is South African, and his title came a day before the funeral of the country's first black president and former Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Mandela died last week at the age of 95, with tournament officials then switching the dates of the event so it didn't conflict with the funeral.

It was subsequently shortened to 54 holes due to persistent rain.

"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," the world No. 337 told the European Tour's website.

"It's obviously really special, making you a part of history.

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"I haven't been in that good form, I've been struggling with an injury, so this is almost overwhelming. To win the last event of the year is going to make Christmas a lot more fun."

Van der Walt won his first title in South Africa in March but slumped thereafter, missing the cut at the majority of his tournaments.

He had to come from behind to ensure victory Saturday, leapfrogging England's Matthew Baldwin at the 12th hole in Durban following an eagle.

Van der Walt registered a four-under 66 and finished at 15 under overall to beat Baldwin and Spain's Jorge Campillo -- the author of a 59 Friday -- by two shots.

"I was pretty relaxed coming home," said van der Walt. "It helped that I had been in that position before."