Sterne wins in Madrid to salvage European career

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The South African Richard Sterne rescued his European Tour career in brilliant fashion yesterday by winning the Madrid Open with a closing 65.

With the Australian Wade Ormsby shooting 66 to claim a share of sixth place and save his place on the circuit as well, his compatriot Jarrod Moseley and England's Simon Wakefield paid the price for missing the halfway cut. They will now have to go to next month's qualifying school to win back their cards, Moseley finishing less than £10 behind the Swede Robert Karlsson, who by surviving the cut here pushed him into the danger zone despite earning over £100,000 this year.

Sterne, 122nd on the Order of Merit, needed to climb six spots to save himself. But now, after a two-stroke victory over Denmark's Anders Hansen, he has a two-year exemption. The tournament host Seve Ballesteros described Sterne's performance as "unbelievable - outstanding. He must be very proud."

The 23-year-old's front nine 31, including an eagle and three birdies, was the joint best of the day. When his compatriot Darren Fichardt, joint overnight leader with Paul Broadhurst, double-bogeyed the eighth, Sterne held top spot on his own.

He never let it go, adding a birdie on the long 14th and closing with four pars for an 18-under-par total of 266 and a winner's cheque of £115,225.

The former Dunhill Cup winner Jamie Spence, one of only 10 players to have a round of 60 on the circuit and chairman of the players' committee, finished joint 30th and lost his card by three shots. Spence will now attend the six-round school for the first time since 1989.