High expectations have surrounded Brandon Stone since he was in the amateur game. He’s doing his best to live up to them.
The 23-year-old claimed his second European Tour title of the year with an emphatic victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship. The former University of Texas player closed with a 5-under 67 to record a 22-under 266. It gave him a seven-shot victory over countryman Richard Sterne.
Belgium’s Thomas Detry kicked off his European Tour career with a third-place finish. The former University of Illinois player claimed full European Tour membership for the 2017 season by finishing 15th on the European Challenge Tour money list. He earned $89,000 for his efforts this week. Sterne picked up a check for $147,000, while Stone took the top prize of $203,000.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who was chasing his fourth Alfred Dunhill win in five years, finished joint fourth with five other players.
Stone earned his first European Tour win in January when he triumphed in the BMW SA Open. It helped him finish 50th on this year’s European Tour money list, his first full season on the European circuit. This win should help him towards his dream of a higher finish among Europe’s elite this year.
“To get this win before Christmas is obviously great, but more importantly it gets me a good start on the Race to Dubai,” Stone said. “I finished 50th this year and I want to build on that. This is the perfect stepping stone to do that.
“On the front nine, I was tied for the lead at one stage. My game plan was to try to get maybe one or two under par through the turn and try to score on the back nine. That was the game plan I set for myself on Thursday, and that was the game plan I was going to stick to today. I knew I could score and I holed some great putts at the first three holes on that back nine which really got the momentum going.
“I just played some incredible golf the whole week to be fair. I think my ball striking this week was superb from the first hole to the last.
“That score that I shot this week – 22 under par around here is not a simple task – to do that is obviously quite something.”
Sterne matched Stone’s 67, while Detry finished with a 68. Schwartzel, looking for his fifth career win in the tournament, stumbled to a closing 74.