Date: December 01, 2008

Local boy wins in SA

Richard Sterne was the main benefactor on the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, clinching the tournament by one shot after both Thomas Aiken and Len Mattiace threw away their overnight advantages. The 27-year-old South African carded a final-round three-under-par 69 on Sunday, for an overall total of 17-under, making the most of constant lapses from overnight leader Aiken and American Mattiace, who ended day four with scores of 75 and 77 respectively. Englishman Robert Rock finished tied-second with Johan Edfors – the Swede carding a 66 for the best final round score alongside Alan McLean and 2007 South Open winner James Kingston. Aiken, who powered his way to a course-record 61 on Saturday and held a one-stroke lead heading into the final day, finished in fourth place with Rafael Cabrera Bello on 15-under-par, while Scotland&aposs McLean and another home favourite Keith Horne ended a further stroke back. But the day belonged to Sterne, whose last win on the European Tour came at the Joburg Open at the start of 2008. The world No.113, who clinched his fifth European title in the process, would have been surprised by the manner at which the leading overnight pair fell away. Aiken started out well enough with two birdies in his opening four holes and was four shots ahead at one point. But bogeys on the par-four ninth, 10th and 18th holes, added to a double bogey on the 11th saw him end his round on three over par, while Mattiace finished on five over par with two bogeys and a pair of triple bogeys. Speaking afterward, Sterne admitted he was a little surprised by the manner at which the leaders had fallen. “I actually only saw the leaderboard on 16 and thought the leaders will probably be on 17 or 18 under,” he said. “So I got a bit of a surprise when I was leading by one. I made a good two putt there and I knew that 17 under was probably going to be good enough. But I&aposm quite happy.” “The back nine I gave away two very weak bogeys on 10 and 12, but I came back strong and that&aposs what counts on those last six holes on a Sunday.” The Pretoria-born golfer, who becomes the first home winner of the tournament since Ernie Els in 2005, admitted that he was very nervous coming into the final hole where he shot a triple bogey and double bogey in the last two rounds. “I was thinking &aposjust make a par, that&aposs all I&aposve got to do&apos,” he continued. “Obviously I wasn&apost feeling very comfortable on that hole and I played it exactly how I wanted to play it. I would like to have hit the putt a little closer, but fortunately I knocked it in.” “I don&apost think many people have won with a triple and double on that hole.” The win also helped him secure the local Sunshine Tour Order of Merit title.