SA Open

Proteas inspire Sterne

2008-12-22 00:36
SA Open champion Richard Sterne (Gallo Images)

Paarl - SA Open winner Richard Sterne drew great inspiration from South Africam cricket's greatest-ever Test win in Australia earlier on Sunday.

Instead of turning his thoughts to his final-round onslaught on the SA Open, the Pretoria-born Sterne could not resist watching the Proteas canter to an historic six-wicket win in Perth.

"I was actually inspired by South Africa's win over Australia," said Sterne.

"I really don't like the Australians beating us.

"I actually sent AB De Villiers a message congratulating them and he sent one back to me.

"I wonder if he knew what was going on here (in Pearl Valley). But sure we'll find out."

A local television presenter duly informed the golf media that the SA Open was televised in Australia and that the Proteas had been watching the SA Open, and that De Villiers (also Pretoria-born) had been glued to a TV set at the team's Perth hotel.

Sterne's sudden-death play-off conquest rounded off a marvellous day for South African sport as the country's cricket team rarely scores wins in Australia, in any format of the game.

Although Ernie Els produced a wonderful round of 64 strokes on Sunday, the 'Big Easy' effort was not enough to stave off Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin who led the 'foreign legion' charge.

However, other tournament pace-setters like England's Lee Westwood and Ulsterman Rory McIlroy failed to reckon with the resilience of Sterne who had been in the shadows of his more illustrious fellowmen like Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Rory Sabbatini and Tim Clark who also had the pleasure of putting one over the Australians when he beat Australia's Mathew Goggin on the first hole of a playoff to lift the Aussie Open title in Sydney just over a week ago.

The SA Open champ wants to take time out now as he's playing virtually non-stop for the past three months.

"This is the most travelling I've done in a year," said Sterne. "I'm going to take time off in February and March and then get ready for the Masters (in Augusta)."

Next month Sterne will defend his title at the Joburg Open, the first tournament for the year on the Sunshine Tour calendar.


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