Sterne in rare record hunt at Africa Open


EUROPEAN Tour champion Richard Sterne accomplished an unprecedented feat in South African golf when he won the 2008 Joburg Open, Alfred Dunhill and South African Open Championships in one calendar year.

The Stellenbosch golfer has set himself another unique target in this year’s Africa Open, which tees off at East London Golf Club from March 5 to 8.

Sterne, 33, wants to become the first winner of all of South Africa’s European Tour cosanctioned tournaments.

“The Africa Open is at the top of my list,” Sterne said from California, where he competed in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour.

“Most people think that kind of record is impossible, but I think it can be done.

“Ernie Els won his fourth major at the age of 42, Darren Clarke won the Open at 40 and Miguel Ángel Jiménez was 50 when he won his 21st title on the European Tour.

“To win all five European Tour co-sanctioned events would be an incredible achievement, and it’s definitely one of my goals.”

Sterne earned his first pro title in the Open de Madrid on the European Tour in 2004.

A year later, he triumphed in the Celtic Manor Wales Open and raised his tally to five with in a memorable 2008.

He rose to 30th in the official world rankings at the end of that season, but his career came to a halt a few months later due to back injuries.

Surgery and 18 months on the bench meant a long climb back, but Sterne celebrated the comeback with his second Joburg Open victory in 2013.

He hopes to write another chapter in South African golfing history next month.

The South African made his Africa Open debut in 2009 and earned the enduring support from the Buffalo City golf fans when he blitzed the course in 61 strokes to better a one-day old course record 62.

“But my putter went cold in the final 2009 round,” Sterne, who tied for 13th in 2010 and finished sixth in 2012, said.

“There will be some stiff competition in East London,” he said. “It’s a popular tournament and a lot of Sunshine Tour and European Tour winners will be in the hunt.

-Lali Stander

Leave a Reply