Branden Grace achieved an important milestone on Sunday when he broke into the top 10 in the world, overtaking Jim Furyk in the rankings.
The 27-year-old South African has steadily climbed the lists since his breakthrough European Tour win in 2012. His recent victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters pushed him to 11th in the world, but he remained just outside the top echelon of golfers.
This week he got the monkey off his back and it’s a well-timed move with the Masters only six weeks away.
‘One of my goals was to get in the top 10. I’m not the type of guy that sits on the first of January and sets out goals,’ he said. ‘I kind of make goals as I go. Top 10 in the world is definitely where I want to be. That’s just the next step in my career.’
Over the course of 2015 he came agonisingly close to winning big, but had to settle for fourth at the US Open and third at the PGA Championship. Top results at the majors earned him big ranking points and he rose throughout the year, but it was his desert victory that gave him the final momentum needed.
Louis Oosthuizen remained the second-best South African in 21st place, while Charl Schwarztel rose 12 spots and into 31st place after his runaway win at the Tshwane Open on Sunday.