Richard Sterne / Getty Images.
Richard Sterne won the Joburg Open with a super last round 64 on the East Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Sunday. His final tournament total of -27 under par, a record for this event, was an amazing seven shots ahead of second placed Charl Schwartzel. Richard’s recent woes with injury are now well behind him, although even he did not expect to be away from the game for nearly two years;
” I didn’t think I was going to be out for so long, but six months became a year and then almost two. After all the hard work and the time out with injury, I did think whether I was ever going to win again. At one point the pain was so bad that I even wondered if I’d ever play golf again. But now I know I can. The only thing that kept me going was all the other South Africans, they kept winning a lot of events and I believed that if they could do it then I could.”
Richard is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to drop just one shot in a 72 hole European Tour event, he now leads the Race To Dubai and will definitely be in the top 60 when the Official World Golf Rankings are updated on Monday. Only the top 50 players qualify automatically for Major Championships, a huge incentive for Richard, who admits the Majors is where he wants to be;
” I’d like to get back into all the Majors, that’s where I want to be playing. It’s a big year, I’ve got off to such a nice start so hopefully I can keep it going. I played really good golf today and the whole week really, that was probably the best final round of my career. It was quite special to finish the way I did.”
Charl Schwartzel’s 66 left him one better off than Chilean Felipe Aguilar, George Coetzee and Ricardo Santos, who matched the victor’s final round of 64. Sadly Trevor Fisher Jnr had a final round of 73, which left him tied in sixth place, alongside Keith Horne and Thomas Aiken on -18 under par for the tournament.