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Sterne claims South Africa Open

FOURTH ROUND LEADERBOARD: (GB & Ire unless stated)
-14 G Maybin (NI), * R Sterne (SA) -13 E Els (SA), R McIlroy, L Westwood -12 R Finch, R Goosen (SA), B Grace (SA), C Wood -11 T Immelman (SA). *Winner in play-off


Richard Sterne

Richard Sterne claimed the South Africa Open, beating Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin in a play-off.

Both players had finished on 14 under par at Pearl Valley but with Maybin finding the bunker off the tee, Sterne took advantage to birdie the play-off.

"I had a bad back on Friday but kept going, this is one I've always wanted win," said South Africa's Sterne.

Overnight leader Lee Westwood fired a final round of 73 to finish on 13 under, one shot off the lead.

The Englishman had taken a two shot lead going into the final day but he hit four bogeys on the way to his disappointing round of one over.

He finished tied for third place along with home favourite Ernie Els, who came into contention following a superb round of 64.

I was pretty confident playing the first again because I'd birdied it twice before

Richard Sterne

Maybin's compatriot Rory McIlroy completed the group at 13 under after he ended with a fourth round score of two under.

English pair Richard Finch and Chris Wood - fifth in the Open as an amateur in July - and South African duo Branden Grace and Retief Goosen were a shot further back on 12 under.

Sterne came roaring back into contention on the final day thanks to a final round 66 that included six birdies, although he only made the play-off after Maybin missed an eight-foot birdie putt for the trophy on the final hole of regulation.

Sterne found the fairway off the tee on the first play-off hole and despite a wayward second shot that found the back of the green he chipped to within four yards and putted home for glory.

It was the South African's fifth European Tour victory and third of 2008.

"There are a lot of emotions going through me right now as it means so much to me," said Sterne.

"I was pretty confident playing the first again because I'd birdied it twice before so I had a good feeling for it."



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see also
Maybin beaten in SA Open play-off
21 Dec 08 |  Golf
Westwood leads South Africa Open
20 Dec 08 |  Golf
Els & Westwood lead chasing pack
19 Dec 08 |  Golf
Westwood in hunt in South Africa
18 Dec 08 |  Golf
Golf leaderboard
16 Jul 09 |  Golf


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