Sunshine Tour

'Pain-free' Richard Sterne ready to face tough Leopard Creek

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South African golfer Richard Sterne
South African golfer Richard Sterne
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
  • South African golfer Richard Sterne hopes to use some of his Leopard Creek knowledge  at this week's Alfred Dunhill Championship.
  • Sterne who will play in his second tournament since February will tee off on Thursday.
  • Sterne talks to us about his wrist surgery during lockdown and getting back to playing competitive golf.

It's another special week of golf in South Africa courtesy of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.

The prestigious tournament provides a unique setting for golfers and viewers alike as it sits on the banks of the Crocodile River overlooking the majestic Kruger National Park.

85 golfers have descended on Malelane and will vie for R29 million in prize money at the richest event on the Sunshine Tour this season.

Following last week's Joburg Open, it's the second of three South African tournaments which are co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

For South Africa's Richard Sterne, being back at Leopard Creek has brought up some fond memories for the 39-year-old after his win here over a decade ago.

In 2008, Sterne was in fine touch as he sealed the Alfred Dunhill Championship by one stroke. He also went on to secure the South African Open the following week.

READ | SA golfer James Kante withdraws from Leopard Creek after caddie tests positive for Covid-19

At last week's Joburg Open, Sterne made his first European Tour start after recovering from a successful wrist surgery.

Sadly Sterne missed the cut at Randpark Golf Club, producing rounds of 70 and 72.

The six-time European Tour winner stated that although he is pain-free he still suffers some stiffness in his wrist following the operation.

"I had this operation whether it was lockdown or not, I had to unfortunately do something about my wrist. It was almost two and a half years of pain and injections and eventually I had to go in for the operation," said Sterne.

"It seems pretty good, last week was my first rounds of golf and didn't play too badly considering the lack of golf that I had. My wrist is feeling okay, I don't have any pain that I used to have, just a bit of stiffness that I have from the operation. I'm going to hopefully keep on going and hopefully it doesn't give me too many issues."

Sterne hopes to build from his mistakes he made last week as he gets his opening round underway on Thursday at 06:50 alongside fellow countryman Shaun Norris and Englishman Ross McGowan.

"I feel good, I felt last week good as well just got from to a bad start in the second round," said Sterne.

"The course is lovely, the grass is really coming on with the new changes that they've made here and it's definitely made the course tougher in my opinion. The greens are firmer and will get faster, and with the firmer greens, the tighter flags are going to be tough to access."

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