‘I think golf is in a really good space back in South Africa,’ Branden Grace said after his breakthrough win at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage on Sunday. ‘Guys like Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous are coming through and it really lifts the spirits of the younger guys and makes them hungry for it.’
Earlier in the year both Stone and Porteous broke onto the European Tour at co-sanctioned events played in South Africa, and this week the young duo head to China seeking further success.
Stone began the 2016 season with a victory at the SA Open, where tournament host Ernie Els proclaimed him and runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout to be ‘the future of South African golf.’
Porteous would pick up his title a week later at the Joburg Open, where he won by two shots over fellow young gun Zander Lombard.
Grace has been an inspiration for his peers, having gone from strength to strength on the international circuit with seven European Tour victories and now a title on the PGA Tour.
He credited South African success to the legacy of his predecessors.
‘We’ve had some great idols growing up – Gary (Player), Retief Goosen, Ernie (Els) – they let us believe that we can win out here, and that’s been really important,’ said the world number 11.
Last week’s Open de Espana was a whitewash tournament for most of the field and no player was under par for the tournament. Porteous shot a promising 73 in the first round, but backslid with a forgettable 85 on Friday to miss the cut. Stone also missed the weekend after carding rounds of 74 and 79.
This week South Africa’s promising young duo will look to dominate at Genzon Golf Club, where the Shenzhen International begins on Thursday. Expect big things from these two players aiming to follow in Grace’s footsteps.