SA Open

Sterne wants quadruple crown

2009-12-17 17:47
Richard Sterne (Gallo Images)
Paarl - Five-time European Tour winner Richard Sterne has set his sights on achieving a unique record in South African golf when he tees it up in the 2010 Africa Open at East London Golf Club between January 7-10.

Playing at this year's South African Open, which started in Paarl on Thursday, the young South African admitted he is hoping to become the first winner of all four of South Africa's European Tour co-sanctioned tournaments.

In 2008, Sterne accomplished an unprecedented feat in South African golf when he won the Joburg Open in January and, in two straight weeks in December, captured the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the South African Open Championship.

All that remains for the diminutive 28-year-old is to claim the Africa Open. For the first time in its three year history, the Africa Open will be jointly-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour with the field of 156 players split equally between the two Tours.

"That would be quite something, wouldn't it? A quadruple crown," said Sterne.

"To win all four European Tour co-sanctioned events would be an incredible achievement. I think it's a real possibility."

Sterne returns to East London Golf Club with fond memories of the Africa Open.

In round three of the 2009 event he bettered reigning Masters Champion Angel Cabrera's course record 62 with a 61 that included 11 birdies.

With rounds of 72, 67 and 61, Sterne was one of the favourites going into the last round, but he let himself down with a 73 to tie for eighth and finish six shots off the pace of winner Retief Goosen.

"I dropped two shots and made just one birdie on the front nine, but on the back nine the putter went completely cold," he said. "I just couldn't get anything going. If the putter stayed hot, who knows how it could have ended."

Winning the Africa Open is certainly high on Sterne's list of priorities, but he knows he will face stiff competition in the Eastern Cape.

"If you look at the entry list, there are a lot of tournament winners in South Africa and on the European Tour," he said.

"It's dusted with winners and they are all going to challenge for the title."


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