• Joburg Open, Round Four

Sterne turns back on injury woes with emotional win

ESPN staff
February 10, 2013
Richard Sterne dominated in Johannesburg © Getty Images

Joburg Open leaderboard

South African Richard Sterne claimed his first European Tour title in over four years with a dominant seven-shot victory at the Joburg Open on Sunday.

Sterne, who was at one point ranked 29th in the world before arthritis in his back forced him away from the sport for almost two years, completed a wire-to-wire victory in Johannesburg - eventually finishing 27-under par after a final round 64.

"It was a pretty special day," Sterne said. "I only had one bogey all week so that was kind of the key.

"It was tough coming from a good week into another one. I got off to such a good start - and having won here before, I do enjoy the place. That's why I keep coming back here."

On his injury woes, he noted: "I did not think I would be out for so long. But six months became a year, and then nearly two in the end. What kept me going was all the other South Africans winning."

Likely to move back into the world's top 60 players when the new rankings are released on Monday, Sterne is now aiming to force his way back into the field for the year's four majors - with the Presidents' Cup at the end of the season also a consideration.

He added: "It's a big year - I've got off to such a nice start and hopefully I can keep it going. I want to be back in all the majors."

Compatriot Charl Schwartze eventually took second place at 20-under, one shot ahead of Ricardo Santos, George Coetzee and Felipe Aguilar.

The British duo of David Drysdale and Tommy Fleetwood both rounded off encouraging weeks, finishing tied 11th and tied 14th respectively.

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