Part of complete coverage on
Sterne emulates Tiger with Joburg win
February 10, 2013 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
South African golfer Richard Sterne savors his victory at the Joburg Open on Sunday, having also won it in 2008.
- South Africa's Richard Sterne wins Joburg Open by a record seven shots on Sunday
- He is back to winning ways after struggling to overcome longterm back problems
- Sterne follows up second placing in Dubai to head the European Tour money list
- Two-time Joburg winner Charl Schwartzel finishes as runner-up
(CNN) -- Richard Sterne had spent a lot of time watching his fellow South Africans make it big on the world golf scene.
Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel both became major champions, Ernie Els rolled back the years to become one again, and Branden Grace showed he might be the next.
But far from compounding his own problems, it sparked a burning desire in Sterne to overcome a near crippling problem with arthritis in his back.
"After all the hard work and the time out with injury, I did think whether I was ever going to win again. At one point the pain was so bad that I even wondered if I'd ever play golf again. But now I know I can," the 31-year-old said after winning his sixth European Tour title on Sunday -- his first since topping three tournaments in 2008.
"The only thing that kept me going was all the other South Africans. They kept winning a lot of events and I believed that if they could do it then I could."
The rise of South Africa's black golfers
Branden Grace on remarkable wins
The coach who restored Els' putting
Golf investors look to Morocco
Read: Fisher fighting nerves in Joburg
Sterne became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to drop just one shot over 72 holes in a European Tour event when he cruised to a seven-stroke victory over Schwartzel at the Joburg Open, having led from the start.
It beat Schwartzel's 2010 record winning total and margin for the tournament of 261 and six shots respectively, and his score to par of -27 was the equal second lowest in European Tour history.
It put him top of the Race to Dubai standings and put him inside the top 60 in the rankings, and closer to automatic qualifications for the four majors.
"I'd like to get back into all the majors -- that's where I want to be playing," said Sterne, who also won in Johannesburg in 2008 and was second at last weekend's Dubai Desert Classic.
"It's a big year. I've got off to such a nice start so hopefully I can keep it going. I played really good golf today and the whole week.
"That was probably the best final round of my career. It was quite special to finish the way I did."
He carded eight-under-par 64 to claim the €206,050 ($275,000) first prize, having started the day tied with compatriot Trevor Fisher Jnr as they led the field by five shots.
Fisher eagled his opening hole in his bid for a first European Tour title, but fell away with a 73 that left him tied for sixth.
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters winner, was seeking his third successive victory after two December titles but he could not add to his previous two Johannesburg wins as he ended with a 66 to be 20-under 267.
Portugal's Ricardo Santos matched Sterne's 64 to tie for third with Chile's Felipe Aguilar and South African George Coetzee, who both shot 67.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.