NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - Korn Ferry Tour golfer Dawie van der Walt was born in Pearl, South Africa -- a country no stranger to hurricanes.
Since moving to the United States, van der Walt makes his home in Kingwood, Texas, a suburb of Houston. His in-laws live in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Laura.
“Cameron County is right where it made landfall, my father-in-law said he’d be happy if he had anything left when he got home,” van der Walt said. “I don’t know the status on my father-in-law’s house, but he probably got 150 mile per hour winds, so it’s not going to be good.”
This isn’t van der Walt’s first go-round with a hurricane. He and his wife went through Hurricane Harvey three years ago.
“We got lucky three years ago - we had Hurricane Harvey and we had three feet of water in my house,” van der Walt said. “I had $200,000 in damage. I was a little nervous, but there’s not much you can do. You just got to evacuate and make sure you just have lots of insurance.”
If there was a hurricane on his mind, no one would have known by his performance in round one, as van der Walt shot a fantastic score of eight-under-par. He finished with eight birdies and no scores worse than par.
After such a strong opening round, it’s hard to think that van der Walt said he almost considered not even playing.
“I was contemplating should I just go home and be with my wife and kids. Obviously I was thinking about it all day,” van der Walt said. “I kept checking my phone, but he’s not back there - he’s at my house. It’ll probably be a few days before you can get back there to see the exact damage. My brother-in-law stayed behind; he’s in SWAT. He texted me about 2 a.m. and said it’s bad.”