Baldwin tames wind for first European circuit triumph
England’s Matthew Baldwin tamed the wind to end an 11-year wait for his first European circuit triumph when he won the SDC championship by seven shots in South Africa on Sunday.
He finished four to 68 for a total of 270 at the St. Francis Lynx on the south coast, with a 67 close from Spaniard Adri Arnaus earning him second place.
Sweden’s Jens Dantorff, Christian Johannessen of Norway, South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers, Antoine Rosner of France and Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson tied for third with 278 points, one stroke behind Arnaus.
“Winning means the world to me,” Baldwin said, adding that growing up in the English coastal town of Southport helped him fight the wind in South African conditions.
“I come from a seaside town and I’m used to playing in the wind, and this week it was very strong at times,” said the champion, who took a four-punch lead in the final round.
“Forgive me for being a bit tongue-tied at the moment. I can’t understand right now what I’ve achieved.”
Baldwin had to play the last four holes of his third round early Sunday morning after being hampered by poor lighting the night before.
He scored three of them while then-co-principal Johannessen struck, allowing Baldwin to gain a four-stroke lead.
The Englishman maintained good form in the final round, extending his lead to six shots after nine holes thanks to three birds.
After Baldwin skimmed the 11th hole of a par-four – the only hole where he hit two hits twice this week – Baldwin responded with a ferry and then two birdies to ensure there was no dramatic collapse.
He played the final four holes with a superb bunker shot in the 15th minute and walked off the field clutching a stick and a bottle of champagne.