Born: 11 February 1983.
Turned pro: 2007.
Country: South Africa.
Special interests:Rugby, cricket.
Career highlights: Represented
South Africa in the Eisenhower Trophy as an amateur. Four-time winner on the
American mini tours.
2013 highlights: Claimed
his maiden European Tour title when he won the Tshwane Open.
2013 Majors: The Masters - Did not play. The US Open - Did
not play. The Open - Did not play. The PGA Championship - Did not play.
NGC record: Debut.
Born in Paarl on the Western Cape, Dawie van der Walt made his big
breakthrough when he won the European Tour co-sanctioned Tshwane Open earlier
It was a major turning point in a career that saw him twice represent South
Africa as an amateur in the Eisenhower Trophy in 2004 and 2006 and play college
golf at Lamar University in America.
He turned professional in 2007 and spent most of his time on the mini
tours of America, where he claimed four wins. The mini tours are an unglamorous
side to professional golf, but Van Der Walt believes the experience was good
"You pay your own
entry fee there, so you play to win everytime because otherwise you make
nothing. It makes you really hard as a competitor," he said.
Van Der Walt came close to a victory on the Web.com Tour in 2012 when he
took second place in the Cox Classic.
But it was on the fairways of The Els Club, Copperleaf in March this
year that Van Der Walt took his biggest step forward.
The big blonde golfer finished a fairytale week with a 67 and a total of 21 under par 267 to claim his first European Tour title with a two-stroke victory over Darren Fichardt.
The win earned him R2.7 million in prize money and a two-year exemption on the European Tour. It also secured his second place on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and as such a place in the 30-man field for the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
But perhaps of more
value than all of this was the belief that came with his victory. "You know,
I'm 30 years old now, I've been a professional for six years without a win, and
you start to doubt", said Van Der Walt. "You see all your friends winning and
you wonder if it will ever be your turn. You start to wonder whether you have
it in you. Now I know I do."