Last week’s Wyndham Championship marked the end of the regular PGA Tour season and the cutoff point for the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings to reach The Playoffs.
Branden Grace is the top South African to make the grade, ranked 25th in his rookie season on the PGA Tour.
The Fancourt golfer took a maiden victory on the world’s most lucrative circuit in April at the RBC Heritage, which followed a missed cut at the Masters.
‘The form has been there and I’ve progressed nicely. Taking my first win this year was pretty special, so I’m excited for what’s to come,’ he said.
Grace has since added five top-10s, including a tie for fifth at the US Open and a tie for fourth at the PGA Championship. He’s proven to be a big-match player, which suits the coming four tournaments.
‘I’m just starting to feel comfy out here. It’s tough to get that way and to start believing this is where you can play golf. It’s been good since the beginning of 2015, getting over that hurdle of playing well in the majors,’ he said.
The Playoffs series begins at The Barclays, where 125 players compete on Bethpage Black, a demanding course in New York. The field is then cut to 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, 70 for the BMW Championship, and then finally to 30 for the Tour Championship.
Grace has little to worry about in terms of cutoffs this week, and will instead be trophy hunting. He ranks ninth on tour for strokes gained: tee-to-green, which is imperative at Bethpage Black. He’s also fourth in approach to the green, which should yield birdies this week.
There is virtually no pressure on Grace this week, an added bonus in the game of golf. In his first full PGA Tour season he’s lifted a trophy, missed three cuts in 15 starts, and top-fived in two majors.
Anything more would be a cherry on top, an extra piece of fruit to the cherry that adorns his Big Bertha driver.
‘I know I can play with these guys and now it’s about getting those wins. It’s been a fun process and I’m looking forward to the challenge,’ he concluded.