Baldwin storms home at SDC Championship for maiden victory

March 19, 2023 GMT

ST. FRANCIS BAY, South Africa (AP) — Matthew Baldwin claimed his maiden title on the European tour in style Sunday by storming to a seven-shot victory at the SDC Championship in South Africa.

Baldwin finished with a 4-under 68 on the St. Francis Links course for 18 under overall as his challengers fell away.

There was no pressure on him as he came home but Baldwin still collected five birdies and just one bogey in his final round for a first win 11 years after he first earned his card to play on the European tour.

The Englishman had to put his career on hold in 2015 because of illness and lost his card the following year. His comeback to the tour was then delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and he said his long-awaited victory was dedicated to his stepfather, who died last year.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure what’s just happened,” the 37-year-old Baldwin said. “It’s been a tough few years so obviously to get the win means absolutely everything.

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“I can’t process it right now but it just means the world to me.”

Baldwin was tied for the lead overnight with Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen, although both still had five holes to play in their third rounds because of delays caused by high winds.

While Baldwin finished off his third round with three more birdies, Johannessen dropped a shot and couldn’t make that up in the final round, where his four birdies were canceled out by four bogeys to finish with a level-par 72 for 10 under and a tie for third.

Spain’s Adri Arnaus finished second on his own with a 5-under 67 taking him to 11 under.

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