ST FRANCIS BAY (Eastern Cape) – England’s Matthew Baldwin claimed his first victory in his 200th start on the DP World Tour when he won the SDC Championship, which is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, by seven strokes at St Francis Links on Sunday.
Baldwin closed with a 68 to win on 18 under par and dedicated his victory to his late stepfather. “It’s been a tough 12 months. My stepdad died last May, and this is for him,” he said.
Spain’s Adri Arnaus took second place on 11 under par with a final round of 67, while Jaco Ahlers finished as the leading South African in tied third place on 10 under par with a final-round 68.
“It’s unbelievable,” a relieved Baldwin said of his win. “It’s my 200th start so I’ve had plenty of opportunities. It’s just an unbelievable feeling right now.”
It was a long weekend of golf for the field, and which Baldwin managed superbly. The wind that forced the suspension of the earlier rounds meant the third round had to be carried over into Sunday morning, with Baldwin finishing this with a solid 65 which lifted him to 14 under par overall. The Englishman had a four-stroke lead over Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen going into the final round and was never challenged.
“I played well all week. I was so steady out there and I think that maybe put the pressure on those around me to try and play more attacking golf, and I was fortunate to come out on the right side of it.”
It also comes at a good time for him both professionally and personally.
“It certainly makes the rest of the year more relaxing. I can plan a schedule. I’m also due to get married this year or the next, so I’ll be able to have a couple of weeks off to help plan that which is exciting.”
But the ultimate reward is the confidence this win has brought him.
“It proves a lot to me. It proves that I’m good enough to be out here. I’ve had plenty of doubt and this proves everything to me.” – Michael Vlismas