Van der Walt set to join Stroud, Stefani

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2015

From the time he won the Tour’s Chile Classic in March, it’s pretty much been a forgone conclusion that Lamar ex Dawie van der Walt was going to earn a PGA Tour card for the 2015-16 season. By winning the Price Cutter Charity Championship Sunday in Springfield, Mo., the South African erased any shred of doubt that he’ll be joining the LU duo of Chris Stroud and Shawn Stefani on the PGA Tour.
Van der Walt ascended from No. 16 to No. 3 on the money list with $286,826 in earnings, giving him the luxury of taking some time off during the final five weeks of the season. At age 32 and after coming up short in four previous seasons while spreading himself thin on the, European and Sunshine Tour’s, Dawie’s dream has come true.
“It has been a lifelong goal,” he told Kevin Prise of “This is what I’ve been working toward my whole life, playing over here. I’m very excited, obviously.”
Van der Walt told Prise he feels he became a better player through his globetrotting schedule, but was ready to bid farewell to Europe when he won in Chile. At that point, he knew the Tour was going to be his ticket to the promised land.
“I basically just left the European Tour status,” he said. “I don’t particularly like playing in Europe. That cold weather, playing in rain suits. I would rather play in the heat, where the ball is going far. That’s what I prefer.”
Counting three Adams Tour wins, Van der Walt has now hoisted a championship trophy nine times as a professional. He also won twice on the Sunshine Tour and twice on the European Tour. The Kingwood resident played for Brian White at Lamar and still uses White as a swing coach.
CHIP SHOTS: Chris Stroud, after two weeks away from the tour, returns this weekend for the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. It’s the final event of the PGA Tour regular season and Stroud will be looking to improve his standing of No. 105 on the Fed Ex Cup points list. First of the five Fed Ex playoff events is The Barclays Aug. 27-30 in Plainfield, N.J., with the top 125 qualifying. To make it to the second event — the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston — Stroud will need to be inside the top 100 after the Barclays . . . PN-G ex Andrew Landry finished T75 in the Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship and remains No. 15 on the money list at $169,451. With five tournaments left, Landry is close to wrapping up a PGA Tour card for finishing in the top 25. It probably wouldn’t hurt, however, for the former Arkansas star to add a few more thousand to his bottom line. No. 25 on the list is $150,148. Given the relative small size of the purses, it’s unlikely 10 players could overtake Landry, but he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. This week’s tour stop is in Knoxville, Tenn. . . Michael Weatherly of Groves scored a unique hole in one at Babe Zaharias Sunday when his tee shot from 161 yards on the 7th hole went into the cup on the fly. Weatherly used an 8-iron for a shot witnessed by Roddy Weatherly, Charles Heider, Dennis Walsh and his envious neighbor Mark Lawson. It was his first hole in one . . . Kevin Morrison made his trip to casino country in Lake Charles pay off recently when he scored an ace on the 171-yard, 8th hole on the Contraband Bayou Golf Club at L’Auberge. Morrison used a 6-iron to record what was his first hole in one. The shot was witnessed by Kenneth Morrison and Tyler Morrison . . . Karlei Hemler had the top showing among area players who qualified for last week’s STPGA Junior Championship at The Woodlands Country Club Palmer Course. Hemler, with rounds of 75-79 for a 36-hole total of 154, placed fourth in field of 23 players in Girls 15-18. Next best finish among the area contingent was a T7 for Jack Burke of Orange in Boys 13-14 and outright 7th for Elizabeth Townsend of Kountze in Girls 13-14. Burke carded back-to-back 77s for a 154, while Townsend finished at 193 (101-92). In Boys 15-18, the Port Neches duo of Cameron Keith and Josh Elmore finished T38 and T43, respectively. Keith shot 83-78 for a 161 while Elmore was a stroke behind him on rounds of 78-84. Joseph Wolcik of Tarkington, who played in several of the Southeast Texas STPGA summer tourneys, shot 141 (71-70) to finish outright second . . . Monday’s Senior 50 Plus Game at The Babe was played a 2-ball format with the team of Benny Sharpe, Earl Richard, Bob Byerly and Mark Petry winning the front in minus 3. On the back, the foursome of Paul Young, Richard Briggs, Tom LeTourneau and Paul Duplantis prevailed with minus 3 . . .The team of Buddy Sepeda, Ed Hetzel, Bill Jones and Darrell McKee won the Babe Zaharias DogFight with 17 points. Second with 14 points was the foursome of Crickett Owen, Charles Leard, Brian Guidry and Larry Rogers. Closest to the hole winners were Adam Noel (No. 2), Bill Jones (No. 7), Mark Petry (No. 12) and Bob Byerly (No. 15) . . . There was a two-way tie for first in the Senior Game at The Babe, which was played in a scramble format. Finishing with 12-under-par 60s was the team of Larry Thompson, Rick Pritchett, Harry Green and Gene Noble and the team of LeTourneau, Bob Moore, Duplantis, Robert Lynch and Bob West. Closest to the pin winners were Gerald Huebel (No. 2), Don MacNeil (No. 7), Bill Jones (No. 12) and West (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front there was a four-way tie at minus 3 between teams captained by MacNeil, Paul Flores, Harrell Guidry and Larry Johnson. On the back, the team of Craig Fontenot, Lee Bertrand, Dillard Darbonne and Chris Ward won with minus 3 . . .
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