Branden Grace could not hide his delight after becoming the first South African to win the country’s three biggest competitions, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN at Randpark Golf Club.
Grace made history on Sunday when he added the SA Open title to his cabinet, which already has the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Alfred Dunhill Championship safely stored.
For Grace, though, it was a victory that probably meant more than any of his previous one, given how determined and eager he was to win at the Randpark Golf Club this week.
Speaking after storming to victory with a brilliant final round of 62, where he finished on 21-under-par, three strokes ahead of overnight leader and defending champion Louis Oosthuizen, he reflected on what it means to finally win the SA Open after a few years of missing out.
‘This is the one that was missing. It is the second oldest tournament in the world and we are just so happy to have it back on the schedule. As long as we have the competition it is a bonus. It was a tough test but it was nice for all the crowds to come and support the event,’ said Grace, who secured qualification for the British Open, which will be held at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in England in July, in the process.
But for Grace it meant a great deal to come out on top on Sunday after it looked for all money that Oosthuizen was going to successfully defend his title.
‘It just makes it special beating him (Oosthuizen) to be honest. I felt like I let it slip last year but it’s special for me to finish it off like I did this year and to win it by three is remarkable. It’s nice to know I played better than a world-class player like him.’
After a difficult 2019, Grace believes this victory will give him the confidence to have a successful year on both the local and European circuits.
‘We have had a lot of things that has been going on. My dad had a heart attack a year back, we’re building a new house so there were a lot of things to get your head around. This year we’ve made some changes with management and I just felt like I was in such a good space and this was the week to kickstart it all,’ said Grace.
Grace has also moved to the top of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit list and is the new leader of the Race to Dubai on the European Tour, surpassing Pablo Larrazabal.