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Richard Sterne joins world top 50

Richard Sterne won for a second straight week as he beat Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin on the first play-off hole in the South African Open after both players finished their 72 holes tied at 274 at Pearl Valley Golf Estates. Sterne, who also won the Alfred Dunhill Championship, shot a final round of 66 to finish on 14 under par. Maybin had a chance to win on the final hole of regulation but saw his birdie putt from eight feet lip out. When the players returned to the 18th in sudden death Sterne produced a birdie four to claim victory.

The win takes Sterne back into the World Top 50 as he jumps to 43rd in the Final Official World Golf Ranking of 2008, up 31 spots. Another Northern Ireland player, 19-year-old Rory McIlroy, finished tied third to move to World Number 39 and secure an invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.

Until two weeks ago and his successive victories, Sterne was still outside the top 100 at no. 113.

At the season ending Volvo Masters Asia Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing enjoyed an emphatic triumph as he claimed his maiden Asian Tour victory. The 31-year-old, who was in a five-way tie for the overnight lead, fired a flawless five-under-par 67 to win by two strokes from Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat. Lam climbs 196 positions to World Number 184 while Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang came in tied sixth to assure himself a place in the world’s top-50 and also an invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.

December 22, 2008


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