Sterne wins leaves Lowry vulnerable for Match Play

Richard Sterne’s win in the Joburg Open left Shane Lowry in danger of missing the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Picture ©Getty Images Richard Sterne bumped Shane Lowry out of the top 64 in the world with a record-breaking seven shot win in the Joburg Open.

The South African’s second win in the event will move him from 94th to around 56th when the rankings are updated on Monday, earning him a place in the WGC-Accenture Match Play the week after next.

Phil Mickelson’s withdrawal from the Tucson event means that Lowry will remain as one of the top 64 available players providing results do not go against him in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am later today.

And that’s a big if with at least three players in with an excellent chance of achieving the results they need to break into the top 64 before the qualifying cut off tonight. See breakdown below

[You can also calculate the changes in the rankings yourself using this Excel file]

As for Sterne, the 31-year old South African put his injury woes behind him by cruising effortlessly to a first European Tour title in just over four years and become the new leader of The Race to Dubai.

Sterne left the field trailing in his wake at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club with a final round of 64, his 27 under par total of 260 not only securing a seven shot victory over Charl Schwartzel, the only other player to have won the Joburg Open twice, but also smashing the record books.

His 72 hole total is the lowest in the history of the tournament and of the2013 season to date, and equals the second lowest of all time.

Ranked 29th in the world following successive victories on home soil in December 2008, Sterne subsequently slipped out of the top 1000 after missing much of the 2010 and 2011 campaigns due to a form of arthritis in his back.

However, if the prospect of returning to the winners’ circle daunted the 31 year old, who led at the halfway stage in last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic before finishing second to Stephen Gallacher, it did not show today as he surged clear with a quintet of birdies in an outward nine of 32 that gave him a five stroke cushion at the summit.

Sterne was untroubled thereafter and picked up three further shots en route to victory.

Schwartzel’s 66 left him one better off than Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Ricardo Santos, who matched the victor’s final round 64, Felipe Aguilar and George Coetzee.

Keith Horne, Thomas Aiken and Fisher Junior can look back on good weeks after ending the tournament on 18 under, yet they were some distance behind the immaculate Sterne.

“It was a pretty special day,” said Sterne upon receiving his trophy. “I played really good golf today and the whole week really.

“It’s quite tough coming from a good week into another week; you kind of do expect to play well. But I got off to such a good start on the West Course (which he played in round one before switching to the East Course for the remainder of the week) and felt comfortable.

“Having won here before I do enjoy the place and that’s why I keep coming back.”

Final scores

260 R Sterne  (RSA) 63 65 68 64;

267 C Schwartzel  (RSA) 68 65 68 66;

268 R Santos  (Por) 70 65 69 64; F Aguilar (Chi) 67 66 68 67; G Coetzee (RSA) 67 64 70 67;

269 K Horne (RSA) 67 66 71 65; T Aiken (RSA) 67 70 66 66; T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 62 68 73…

Shane Lowry’s rivals - their ranking, what they need to do to make the top 64

  • 69 Geoff Ogilvy Aus AT&T 6th or better (CUT)
  • 71 Brendon de Jonge Zwe AT&T 6th or better (T36)
  • 73 Fredrik Jacobson Swe AT&T 7th or better (T11)
  • 77 Kevin Na USA, AT&T 4th or better (T17)
  • 81 Kristoffer Broberg Swe Joburg Top 2 (CUT)
  • 83 Danny Willett Eng, Joburg Win (CUT)
  • 87 Aaron Baddeley Aus, AT& 3rd or better (T27)
  • 92 Ryan Palmer USA, AT&T 2nd or better (CUT)
  • 93 Vijay Singh Fiji, AT&T 2nd or better (T32)
  • 94 Richard Sterne Saf, Joburg Win (1st) moves to world No 56
  • 97 Jimmy Walker USA, AT&T 2nd or better (T6)
  • 100 Seung-Yul Noh Kor, AT&T Win (T43)
  • 108 Charlie Wi Kor, AT&T Win (T17)
  • 112 Chris Kirk USA, AT&T Win (T3)
  • 113 Luke Guthrie USA, AT&T 2nd or better (T11)
  • 116 Johnson Wagner USA, AT&T Win (CUT)
  • 118 Tommy Gainey USA, AT&T Win (CUT)
  • 119 Retief Goosen Saf, AT&T Win (T6)
  • 120 Kevin Stadler USA, AT&T Win (T11)
  • 121 Casey Wittenberg USA, AT&T Win (CUT)
  • 122 Josh Teater USA, AT&T Win (T32)
  • 126 Matt Every USA AT&T Win (T17)
  • 129 Ted Potter Jnr USA, AT&T Win (T11)
  • 134 Harris English USA, AT&T Win (CUT)
  • 146 Charlie Beljan USA, AT&T Win (CUT)
  • 147 Brian Harman USA, AT&T Win (T36)
  • 148 JB Holmes USA, AT&T Win (T56)

Work out the world rankings yourself with this Excel document