Faultless closing round sees Sterne claim title
Lydia Ko of New Zealand with the NZ Women's Open trophy after winning the New Zealand Open at Clearwater Golf Course yesterday in Christchurch, New Zealand. photograph: joseph johnson/getty images
TOUR NEWS:South African Richard Sterne produced a faultless closing round to claim a seven-stroke victory over local boy Charl Schwartzel with a tournament record 27-under at the Johannesburg Open.
The 31-year-old from Pretoria, who had not won on the European Tour since 2009, sank eight birdies in his closing 64 to card a new record of 260.
Sterne never looked in real danger after overnight joint-leader Trevor Fisher Jr saw his challenge collapse with a one-over-par final round.
Fisher, starting early due to the threat of bad weather, opened up with an eagle on the par-five first but faltered from then on while Sterne remained consistent. The latter collected five birdies to head into the turn at 24-under par.
World top 64
The South African was second to Stephen Gallacher in Dubai last week and his £176,242 victory at the Royal Johannesburg Kensington Golf Club put him into the world top 64, good enough to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
In what proved a close race for second place, Johannesburg native Schwartzel shot eight birdies in his 66 to finish on 20-under 267. A day’s equal best, an eight-under 64 from Portugal’s Ricardo Santos, saw him finish a shot further back in a tie for third with South African George Coetzee and Felipe Aguilar of Chile. None of the Irish contingent made the cut.
Teenager Lydia Ko became the youngest winner of a women’s European Tour event when she took victory at the New Zealand Women’s Open in Christchurch yesterday.
The New Zealander cried with joy after winning her third professional title from 12 events at the age of 15 years, eight months and 17 days.
“I didnt cry at the Canadian Open so I don’t know why I cried here,” Ko said. “I guess it meant more. It is our national open so to win means a lot.”
Ko, who made a three-foot putt on the final hole to finish on 206, one ahead of American Amelia Lewis, beat the record set by South Korean Amy Yang, who was aged 16 years, six months and eight days when she won the Ladies Masters in Australia as an amateur in 2006.