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Stone’s R5-million for a hot back nine on Sunday

by | Feb 2, 2021

BRANDON Stone tied for fourth in the European Tour’s Joburg Open right here at Randpark in November and the popular South African bettered this on Sunday in the tour’s Dubai Desert Classic with second place all on his own.

The 27-year-old finished on 13-under-par 275, four back of England’s 43-year-old Paul Casey who said after sinking the final putt that he had “regained his youth”. Casey has spent the last few years working incredibly hard on his game and equally hard on his strength and fitness and on Sunday used his “Popeye” arms to hit far and straight for the most part to record his 15th European Tour victory with a final round 70. This was Casey’s third  Desert swing triumph, following successes in Abu Dhabi in 2007 and 2009.

As for Stone, he gave a classic display of just how to play the back nine on a Sunday. In difficult conditions he was three over par 38 for the outward half in Dubai but came back in style with a three under inward loop of 34 with birdies at holes 10, 11, 13 and 17, playing some sublime up and downs from greenside bunkers to birdie 13 and save par at 14. He finished one ahead of a faltering Robert MacIntyre of Scotland.

Compatriot Richard Sterne closed with a 69, one of the best returns on a difficult day for scoring while a third South African, Christiaan Bezuidenhout – winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship and South African Open back home this summer, was 22nd also following a 69.

Stone’s reward for his fine back nine on a Sunday which elevated him to second place? Converting euros to South African currency, he earns just shy of a cool R5-million. Stone has won three times on the European Tour – in the SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2016, and the Scottish Open in 2018, and looks to be hitting his best form again.

Written by Randpark member Grant Winter.

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