South Africa’s number one golfer Branden Grace is back in Europe this week as he takes on some links golf at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open ahead of The Open at Royal Troon.
The 28-year-old has had a great season that includes two wins and several top-10 finishes. This week he turns his attention to Castle Stuart Golf Links, where he lost a playoff to Phil Mickelson in 2013.
Grace member won the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions at The Links at Fancourt before going on to win the famed Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in the same year. His runner-up finish at the Scottish Open three years was another strong showing on a seaside track, and it was unsurprising that he broke onto the PGA Tour with a victory at the RBC Heritage, played at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina.
‘I grew up in Fancourt where we were fortunate to have a links course and since then I have fallen in love with a links-type course,’ he said. ‘You have to see different shots and you have to hit shots that you don’t normally practice and that’s fun, I have come pretty close here [at Castle Stuart] and it would be nice to maybe get that one spot better this week.’
He finished tied-20th at The Open last year and there is no doubt that Grace will expect a strong performance at Castle Stuart before he makes another bid for his maiden major title at Royal Troon next week.
‘I’ve never played Troon, done a bit of homework on the course, it looks great. I’ve heard from guys it’s a links that’s not going to play very linksy,’ he added. ‘The weather is not going to be good, so maybe it will soften things up and that means you can be a little more aggressive’.