Golf

Els full of praise for Grace

2012-10-06 19:44
Branden Grace (AFP)

St Andrews - Reigning British Open champion Ernie Els predicts compatriot Branden Grace, and leader by four shots in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, to one day join him in capturing golf's oldest Major.

Grace, 24 continued his domination of the Scottish event adding a third round 69 at Carnoustie on Saturday to move to 20-under par in the $5m event.

He heads to the final round, and the chance of securing the $800 000 first prize four clear of Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, who carded a 68 to move to 16-under par.

US Ryder Cup player Dustin Johnson recorded a 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews to move to six-under par and tied in 43rd place with Ryder Cup winner Martin Kaymer who added a 69 also at St Andrews.

Another European Ryder Cup team member, Sweden's Peter Hanson, carded a 69 for a five under par tally but missing the five under par cut-off mark was team-mate Paul Lawrie (68) at three under par.

"Today, was just a joke," said the Scot.

Also missing the cut was defending champion Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland who signed for a third round 72 for a two-under par tally.

Grace set the European Tour alight earlier this year in winning three events in 11 appearances and arrived in Scotland after having captured a Sunshine Tour title last week in Fancourt.

His third round at Carnoustie was a mix of six birdies, one bogey and a 15th hole double bogey.

And Grace's efforts this year have been so amazing Els had no hesitation in declaring he could win the Open Championship which Els won in 2002 and again this year at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

"His game is so good Branden could well enough win an Open Championship," said Els.

The current World No 49-ranked Grace is a graduate from the Ernie Els Foundation which the four-time Major winner established in 1999 to help assist talented South African golfers compete more around the world.

Els got his first real sight of Grace's golfing prowess in capturing the 2007 South African Open at Port Elizabeth where Grace finished the leading amateur.

"Branden has always been a quality player, and he's really come on now," said Els.

"So he's a world contender now; wherever he plays, he's got a chance to win now.

"He was in my foundation, so whenever I have the opportunity, I will go down there, especially in December, we do clinics and I'll hang with the guys and so forth.

"But Branden is one of those guys that just from watching him, he's learning. He doesn't have to say much. He keeps watching and learning that way.

"So I've been pleased Branden came through my Ernie Els Foundation and we've been lucky to get some of the guys like Louis (Oosthuizen) and it's been good to see them get the break they needed."

Els added: "He's a quality player and he's established himself here in Europe given he's now exempt for a couple of years, so he will get a lot more starts in the US now he will be top-50 after this week.

"So he can go the same way as Louis and Charl (Schwartzel) and myself."

"I didn't play particularly well today but managed to get it around," said Grace.

"But Carnoustie is a course that just hits you mentally. Everybody knows the name, as everbody calls it 'Carnasty'.

"However when you are playing well everything goes your way and you forget about it being tough and you turn it around to something a little bit more easier."

Leading and selected third round scores in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Scotland on Saturday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):

At Kingsbarns

200 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 63 69 68
201 - Alexander Noren (SWE) 64 72 65, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 64 71 66
202 - Stephen Gallacher 67 70 65
203 - Danny Willett 66 69 68, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 65 71 67
204 - Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 69 67 68
205 - Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 62 73 70, Lee Slattery 67 70 68
206 - Ashley Hall (AUS) 64 73 69
207 - Chris Wood 69 70 68, James Kingston (RSA) 68 69 70, Maarten Lafeber (NED) 71 71 65, Oliver Fisher 66 74 67
208 - David Drysdale 66 72 70, Ross Fisher 70 69 69
209 - Robert Rock 71 72 66, Anders Hansen (Den) 70 69 70, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 72 71 66, Marc Warren 70 70 69
210 - Brett Rumford (AUS) 71 70 69, Richard Finch 69 72 69, Rikard Karlberg (SWE) 67 73 70, Scott Jamieson 68 74 68, James Morrison 70 69 71

Selected

211 - Michael Campbell (NZL) 67 71 73, George Coetzee (RSA) 71 72 68
212 - Shiv Kapur (IND) 71 70 71
213 - Andrew Dodt (AUS) 71 72 70
214 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 73 72 69
215 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 68 76 71
217 - Jbe' Kruger (RSA) 71 73 73
218 - Peter O'Malley (AUS) 74 71 73, Richard Sterne (RSA) 66 81 71
219 - Matthew Zions (AUS) 74 73 72

At St Andrews

206 - Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG) 71 72 63
207 - Thomas Aiken (RSA) 72 68 67, Oliver Wilson 67 71 69, Phillip Price 71 67 69, Mark Foster 72 69 66
208 - Ernie Els (RSA) 73 70 65
209 - Mathias Gronberg (SWE) 74 66 69, Graham Delaet (CAN) 71 69 69, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ESP) 70 69 70
210 - Dustin Johnson (USA) 72 71 67, Steve Webster 70 72 68, Colin Montgomerie 71 70 69, David Howell 71 72 67, Martin Kaymer (GER) 70 71 69, Padraig Harrington 71 73 66
211 - Tjaart Van Der Walt (RSA) 72 70 69, Peter Hanson (SWE) 72 70 69, Pat Perez (USA) 72 70 69, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 75 70 66
212 - Gregory Havret (Fra) 67 74 71, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 72 72 68

Selected

213 - Paul Lawrie 75 70 68, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 73 69, Darren Clarke 75 70 68, Thomas Levet (FRA) 71 70 72
214 - Paul Casey 72 69 73
217 - Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 73 69 75, Niclas Fasth (SWE) 71 72 74, Paul McGinley 76 68 73
218 - Rich Beem (USA) 70 74 74, Rohan Blizard (AUS) 75 73 70
223 - Hennie Otto (RSA) 72 72 79

At Carnoustie

196 - Branden Grace (RSA) 60 67 69
202 - Joel Sjoholm (SWE) 65 67 70
205 - Paul Waring 69 66 70
206 - Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 70 69 67, Anton Haig (RSA) 65 68 73, Graeme Storm 68 66 72
207 - Magnus A Carlsson (SWE) 66 68 73, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 66 70 71, Simon Khan 68 69 70
208 - Lorenzo Gagli (ITA) 69 67 72
209 - Shane Lowry 69 69 71, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 71 66 72, Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 71 68 70
210 - Richard S Johnson (SWE) 71 69 70, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 68 66 76, Matthew Baldwin 69 69 72, Peter Lawrie 70 72 68, Bradley Dredge 69 69 72
211 - Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 72 69 70

Selected

213 - Nick Cullen (AUS) 71 71 71
215 - Matthew Griffin (AUS) 72 72 71, Adam Crawford (AUS) 71 74 70
216 - Richard Green (AUS) 71 73 72
217 - Christiaan Basson (RSA) 71 72 74, Allan Versfeld (RSA) 74 69 74, Josh Geary (NZL) 70 73 74
218 - David Gleeson (AUS) 73 71 74, Keith Horne (RSA) 70 72 76
220 - Himmat Singh Rai (IND) 74 74 72
221 - Mohd. Siddikur (BAN) 73 72 76, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 71 74 76
222 - Kieran Pratt (AUS) 70 75 77
223 - Ryan Haller (AUS) 78 75 70

Read more on:    ernie els  |  branden grace  |  golf
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