Stern completes comeback at Joburg Open
BY European Tour | European PGA Tour | 2013 The Joburg Open | Wrap | 11 Feb 2013
Richard Sterne put his injury woes behind him by cruising effortlessly to a first European Tour title in just over four years at the Joburg Open to become the new leader of The Race to Dubai.
Sterne left the field trailing in his wake at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club with a final round of 64, his 27 under par total of 260 not only securing a seven shot victory over Charl Schwartzel, the only other player to have won the Joburg Open twice, but also smashing the record books.
His 72 hole total is the lowest in the history of the tournament and of the 2013 season to date, and equals the second lowest of all time. Furthermore, he will find himself back among the world’s top 64 when the Official World Golf Rankings are released on Monday and thereby qualifies for the WGC – Accenture Match Play championship.
Ranked 29th in the world following successive victories on home soil in December 2008, Sterne subsequently slipped out of the top 1000 after missing much of the 2010 and 2011 campaigns due to a form of arthritis in his back.
However, if the prospect of returning to the winners’ circle daunted the 31 year old, who led at the halfway stage in last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic before finishing second to Stephen Gallacher, it did not show today as he surged clear with a quintet of birdies in an outward nine of 32 that gave him a five stroke cushion at the summit.
Sterne was untroubled thereafter and picked up three further shots en route to victory.
Schwartzel’s 66 left him one better off than Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Ricardo Santos, who matched the victor’s final round 64, Felipe Aguilar and George Coetzee.
Keith Horne, Thomas Aiken and Fisher Junior can look back on good weeks after ending the tournament on 18 under, yet they were some distance behind the immaculate Sterne.
“It was a pretty special day,” said Sterne upon receiving his trophy. “I played really good golf today and the whole week really.
“It’s quite tough coming from a good week into another week; you kind of do expect to play well. But I got off to such a good start on the West Course (which he played in round one before switching to the East Course for the remainder of the week) and felt comfortable.
“Having won here before I do enjoy the place and that’s why I keep coming back.”
None of the four Australians in the field made the cut, Matthew Zions the best oi them missing narrowly.
260 R Sterne (RSA) 63 65 68 64;
267 C Schwartzel (RSA) 68 65 68 66;
268 R Santos (Por) 70 65 69 64; F Aguilar (Chi) 67 66 68 67; G Coetzee (RSA) 67 64 70 67;
269 K Horne (RSA) 67 66 71 65; T Aiken (RSA) 67 70 66 66; T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 62 68 73;
270 G Mulroy (RSA) 70 68 65 67; L Gagli (Ita) 67 68 68 67;
271 B Pieters (RSA) 69 69 67 66; D Drysdale (Sco) 68 67 68 68; J Van Zyl (RSA) 66 68 67 70;
272 B Easton (RSA) 65 70 70 67; T Fleetwood (Eng) 68 66 69 69;
273 J Kingston (RSA) 66 70 70 67; J Walters (RSA) 71 67 67 68; P Waring (Eng) 71 67 67 68;