“I can go around knowing I’m the South African Open champion,” Daniel van Tonder stated, echoing the sentiments of every domestic golfer.Van Tonder joined the greats of South African golf in adding his name to the renowned trophy with his one-stroke victory at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday. “This is a unique victory. This is golf’s second-oldest Open, and winning it means a lot. It has always looked so lovely to watch folks win. “And now I can call myself the SA Open champion,” Van Tonder stated. Van Tonder shot a final round of 65 and birdied the 18th hole to win on 16 under par on a gloomy and occasionally wet Sunday at Sun City. Hennie du Plessis finished third on 12 under par with a final round of 69, and Oliver Bekker finished second on 15 under par with a closing 66. Yurav Premlall, a member of the GolfRSA National Squad, won the Freddie Tait trophy for the leading amateur after finishing in a share of 30th place on two under par with a final round of 75. The third round was still to be finished on Sunday morning, and Justin Harding had taken a commanding four-stroke lead at the end of it. Van Tonder, on the other hand, kept his cool and started his run with a birdie on the opening hole. He shot three under for his round and then put together a back nine worthy of a champion, making four birdies, including two in his final three holes, to win. “I’ve been seven shots down in the past. I’ve even been nine shots down in the past. So I just went about my business and made my putts. He explained, “My mindset was to just go for it.” Van Tonder’s victory caps a spectacular year in which he won his first DP World Tour title and competed in two Majors for the first time. “This year has been amazing, but it has also been long and difficult. Due to travel limitations, we’ve been gone for six months. So to come back home and win the South African Open on a golf course I love is incredibly amazing,” he remarked.
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