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Newlywed Matthew Baldwin looks to rediscover winning form as he defends title in South Africa

Matthew Baldwin is hopeful that life off the course will start to be reflected on it as he defends his title at the SDC Championship in South Africa.

The Englishman – who turned 38 this week – lifted the trophy at St Francis Links last year for his first DP World Tour title in his 200th appearance but has registered just one top 10 since, with three missed cuts in seven events so far in the 2024 season.

The world number 268 may not have got the results he was looking for but feels he has been playing well and after getting married to partner Claire in January, he wants to see his home happiness replicated inside the ropes.

"It's been really good," he told the DP World Tour. "I got married in January, so life off the course and things like that have been great.

"Golf's probably not gone quite as I would have liked. I've been playing well, just not not quite getting the results I would have liked, which is obviously tough after winning.

"It's such a high then you obviously hit a bit of a lull when you don't perform the way you know you could."

Baldwin, who turned professional is 2008 but is playing just his eighth full season on the DP World Tour after twice graduating from the Challenge Tour and coming through the Qualifying School in 2017, has himself admitted his career has often been a roller coaster.

He also saw his 2015 campaign cut short through illness but is now looking to truly re-establish himself at the top level as he returns to a country where he spent some of his childhood.

"It's obviously something you always dream of, winning on the DP World Tour, and to actually achieve it at such a beautiful venue as well was special," he added.

"I lived here when I was a kid. I don't remember much of it but I always love coming back to South Africa.

"It's going to be a unique experience for me this week. Defending, never done it before. I can't wait."

World number 81 Rikuya Hoshino is the highest-ranked player in the field in Eastern Cape after his recent victory in Qatar, as the DP World Tour hosts the first of back-to-back events in South Africa to close out its International Swing.

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