Blistering Grace pace secures South African Open title

42

Branden Grace carded a stunning final-round 62 to claim the South African Open title ahead of reigning champion Louis Oosthuizen.

Grace, who was one over after two holes, enjoyed a superb day on the Firethorn Course in Johannesburg, with an eagle three at the fourth the highlight of a nine-under-par score.

He surged past fellow South African Oosthuizen, whose 68 included an ace at the eighth, and signed for the same score he famously achieved in the third round of the 2017 Open Championship.

With a total score of 21 under, Grace finished three strokes clear of 2010 Open champion Oosthuizen, who had slept on a one-shot lead, while Marcus Armitage ended the tournament a further two back in third.

“That was remarkable,” Grace said in quotes reported by the European Tour website. “I played flawless golf and I can’t remember the last time the putter was that hot.

“This is the one I really wanted. This means so much to any South African, winning on home soil, the guys get so behind you and it’s such an emotional feeling.”

Grace did not initially offer much of a hint of what was to come and he slipped further off the pace with a dropped shot on the second hole.

But that setback proved the catalyst for a superb round which featured eight birdies in addition to his eagle.

Oosthuizen, who won this event by six shots last year, was unable to build on his hole in one – sealed courtesy of a fortuitous bounce – with a solitary birdie his only other gain on a blemish-free card.

Elsewhere in the field, 18-year-old amateur Jayden Trey Schaper closed with a chip-in birdie to finish in a tie for sixth.