Stone captures first trophy of 2016 in South Africa


Brandon Stone took home the first trophy of 2016, as the 22-year-old captured the European Tour's South African Open after a marathon final day.

Rain shortened play each of the first three days at Glendower Golf Club, and Stone began Sunday with six holes left in his third round and a share of the lead alongside Daniel Brooks. He built a two-shot lead entering the final round, then held on for his maiden win by the same margin.

Stone hails from South Africa, but he played college golf at the University of Texas alongside Jordan Spieth. Stone was a first-team All-American and named Freshman of the Year before turning pro in 2013 at age 20. He earned his European Tour card via the Challenge Tour last year.

Stone finished two shots ahead of Christiaan Bezuidenhout, although the victory was far from easy. Stone's topsy-turvy final round included seven birdies and six bogeys, as he briefly ceded the top spot back to Brooks with nine holes to play.

But Stone closed with four birdies across his final seven holes to re-take the lead, while Brooks faded to third place. South Africans Retief Goosen and Branden Grace both closed with rounds of 2-under 70 to finish in a tie for fourth, five shots behind Stone.