Brandon Stone of South Africa cruised home to a seven shot victory over countryman Richard Sterne in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Brandon Stone started the final day at Leopard Creek CC three shots in front of his nearest challengers and he closed with a fine fourth round of 67 to move further ahead and finish well clear of the field.
Stone was challenged by four-time winner Charl Schwartzel early on Sunday. Schwartzel fired three birdies on the front nine to join Stone briefly at the top of the board. But Stone pushed ahead again with a birdie on the 6th and then put his foot to the floor on the back nine with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th holes. By that point he had a six shot lead and, by the time he putted out for victory on the finishing hole, he was seven clear.
Schwartzel stumbled with a triple bogey on the 15th and Richard Sterne ended the day alone in second place with Thomas Detry of Belgium in third.
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3 Talking points from the Alfred Dunhill Championship
1 – This was a second European Tour title for 23-year-old Brandon Stone and a second during 2016: He won the BMW SA Open in January. He is now exempt on the European Tour to the end of 2018 and could move into the top-75 on the Official World Golf Ranking. He is the early leader on the 2017 Race to Dubai standings.
2 – Charl Schwartzel was aiming to win this event for an incredible fifth time. He gave himself a chance with a strong start on Sunday, briefly joining Stone in the lead. But things got away from the 2011 Masters champion on the back nine. He dropped a stroke at the 13th then made a triple bogey on the 15th and a double on the 16th. He came home in 41 and finished the tournament in a tie for fourth, 10 shots behind Stone.
3 – It was a good week for the young Belgian Thomas Detry. Playing in just his fifth European Tour event, the 23-year-old finished the week alone in third place. He only turned professional this year but has already made a name for himself through his performances on the Challenge Tour: He won the Bridgestone Challenge held at Heythrop Park this August with a record score of 29-under-par.
Alfred Dunhill Championship Leopard Creek CC, Malelane, South Africa Dec 1-4 Purse €1,200,000, par 72
1 Brandon Stone (RSA) 67 66 66 67 266 €190,200 2 Richard Sterne (RSA) 68 70 68 67 273 €138,000 3 Thomas Detry (Bel) 69 71 67 68 275 €83,040 T4 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 69 67 71 69 276 €40,300 T4 Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 66 68 72 276 €40,300 T4 Scott Jamieson (Sco) 67 71 69 69 276 €40,300 T4 Carlos Pigem (Esp) 68 69 70 69 276 €40,300 T4 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 66 68 68 74 276 €40,300 T4 Graeme Storm (Eng) 73 67 68 68 276 €40,300 10 Bryce Easton (RSA) 70 69 67 72 277 €23,520
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly.
Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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