2013 Joburg Open result: overnight deficit too Sterne test for Schwartzel
Having led – or at least shared the lead – for the majority of the event, it’s no surprise to see Richard Sterne walk away the 2013 Joburg Open title.
Having slipped from the OWGR rankings following almost two years of convalescence and training after being diagnosed with arthritis in his mid-twenties, Sterne was a man on a mission this week in is home nation of South Africa.
Perhaps the real surprise of the final day’s play at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Gold Club East Course was the tail-off of joint overnight leader Trevor Fisher Junior.
Whilst Sterne was on his way to an accomplished and record -27 for this event, dropping only one shot along the way, similarly equalling a record set by Tiger Woods in pro-competition, Fisher Jnr’s day was conversely woeful.
Schwartzel proved ultimate threat to Sterne
Indeed, it was the well-fancied Charl Schwartzel who would be the greatest threat to Richard Sterne in the end.
But even the previous Joburg Open double-winner’s final 68 was no match for the new double-winner of this event’s day four 66, seeing Sterne run out champion by an amazing 7 shots.
Last week, Sterne showed the rest of the European Tour that he’s back and means business in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
He led there at the cut, too, but was eventually overcome by Stephen Gallacher. He obviously learned a valuable lesson and took the inspiration into the last day in Johannesburg.
South African golf prominent on European Tour
It’s perhaps fitting that Schwartzel should come runner-up behind his fellow countryman in this seventh staging of the Joburg Open.
South African golfers have now won 12 of the last 52 European Tour events, Schwartzel prominent amongst those title winners.
In the post-tournament interviews, Sterne revealed how Schwartzel had been an inspiration to the now-31-year old in his battle for fitness against the arthritis that saw him drop outside the world’s top 1,000 golfers.
Sterne wanted a piece of that very action and, after being so close last week, was not going to let the opportunity slip this.
Sterne will have sights on Majors qualification
An even bigger springboard for Sterne, who now tops this year’s Race to Dubai – an event that should be interesting with so many European golfers focusing on the PGA Tour this year – is to claw his way into the OWGR top fifty.
All things being equal, he’ll be in the top sixty tomorrow when all of the results from the Joburg Open and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California have been slung into the mixer.
To gain automatic qualification for this year’s Golf Majors, a top fifty OWGR spot guarantees an invitation. You wouldn’t bet against that development, given Sterne’s current form.
Next week, we stay in South Africa for the Africa Open. With Schwartzel off over to the US to play the Northern Trust Open, could Sterne make it a hat trick of top two finishes in successive weeks? He’s kept his place in my team, that’s for sure.
And talking of which, just a final word about our 10-Tee-20-Vision Fantasy Race to Dubai team.
Okay, ask me who picked the 1-2-3 for this here event in Joburg? That’s right – read the team-sheet to the left and weep!
Did I have a bet on it?
Am I pig-sick?
Will I make the same mistake for next week’s PGA European Tour event?
…so I guess it should be me doing the crying into the ‘why-oh-why?’ hanky this weekend.
So take heed, and don’t be a dingbat like me.
Here’s the list of invitations for next week’s Africa Open if you’re thinking of entering a team.
In the meantime, I’m going to give 10-Tee-20-Vision an overhaul and see if we can’t do better than finish inside the top 6,000 teams next week as we did this.
Tip of the week: fill half your team with South African golfers; definitely Richard Sterne, but not Ernie Els or Charl Schwartzel as they’ll be in America.
Good luck. And if your want to drop a link to your Fantasy team in the comments, I’ll give it a tweet and we’ll have a bit of banter about it next weekend.
Have a great week, everyone. And remember, before betting on a European Tour golf or PDC darts event, Get Thet, Go!
Thet Watson. x