Golf

Grace out to catch McIlroy

2012-10-07 22:07
Branden Grace (AP)

St Andrews - South African Branden Grace completed a two-shot victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday and immediately set his sights on topping the European money list.

It was the fourth win of the season for the 24-year-old European Tour rookie and lifted him into third place in this year's Race to Dubai.

He is now only €730 000 (R 8.1m) behind leader Rory McIlroy and as he accepted his €617 000 (R6.9m) winners cheque Grace admitted he has was now focused on the beating the world No 1 to the top honour in European golf.

"I am all for catching Rory," Grace told reporters after shooting a closing 70. "Someone mentioned the possibility to me a couple of days ago and then I said let's get this week over with first and I have done that.

"And now I am in third place, first place is definitely in my sights. With a lot of big money events coming up €800 000 is not a lot to make up."

Furthermore Grace will be playing more events through the rest of the season than the young Ulsterman.

In the week ahead McIlroy will be in Turkey with seven of the world's other top golfers, including Tiger Woods, chasing a $1.5m first prize in an exhibition tournament.

Grace will be at the European Tour's Portugal Masters where pocketing the €600 000 prize would make a huge dent in McIlroy's lead.

Although Grace took a four-shot lead into the fourth round his victory which has lifted him from 265th in the world at the start of the year into the top 40, was not a straightforward procession.

When he dropped shots at the seventh and 11th holes around the Old Course he was caught at the top of the leaderboard by the Dane Thorbjorn Olesen who won this year's Sicilian Open.

After three-putting the 11th green Grace said he turned to his caddie Zach Razego to help him read the lines of his putts and a run of three birdies from the 12th put him back on the victory trail.

Olesen shot 68 to finish second with the Swedish pair of Alexander Noren and Joel Sjoholm in third and fourth places.

Scot Stephen Gallacher was at one stage poised to challenge for a podium finish. At the 16th hole he was lying fourth on the leaderboard but incurred a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball.

Instead of hitting his own ball he played one belonging to Yorkshireman Streve Halsall who was the amateur playing partner of the Englishman Graeme Storm playing in the same group.

Gallacher eventually had a quadruple eight at the hole and had to settle for being part of a seven-way tie for fifth place.

Scores from the European Tour Dunhill Links Championship at the par-72 course on Sunday at St Andrews:

266 Branden Grace (South Africa) 60 67 69 70 268 Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark) 63 69 68 68 270 Alexander Noren (Sweden) 64 72 65 69 272 Joel Sjoeholm (Sweden) 65 67 70 70 273 George Coetzee (South Africa) 71 72 68 62
Lee Slattery (Britain) 67 70 68 68
Raphael Jacquelin (France) 69 67 68 69
Victor Dubuisson (France) 62 73 70 68
Danny Willett (Britain) 66 69 68 70
Stephen Gallacher (Britain) 67 70 65 71
Fredrik Andersson Hed (Sweden) 64 71 66 72 274 Steve Webster (Britain) 70 72 68 64 275 Magnus Carlsson (Sweden) 66 68 73 68
Ricardo Gonzalez (Argentina) 71 72 63 69 276 David Drysdale (Britain) 66 72 70 68
Oliver Fisher (Britain) 66 74 67 69
Chris Wood (Britain) 69 70 68 69
Anton Haig (South Africa) 65 68 73 70
Mark Foster (Britain) 72 69 66 69
Graeme Storm (Britain) 68 66 72 70
Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) 65 71 67 73 277 Edoardo Molinari (Italy) 71 68 70 68
Mikko Ilonen (Finland) 72 71 66 68
Ross Fisher (Britain) 70 69 69 69
Brett Rumford (Australia) 71 70 69 67
Thomas Aiken (South Africa) 72 68 67 70
James Morrison (Britain) 70 69 71 67
Ashley Hall (Australia) 64 73 69 71 278 Darren Fichardt (South Africa) 71 66 72 69
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain) 70 69 70 69
Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 71 73 66 68
Emiliano Grillo (Argentina) 70 69 67 72
Paul Waring (Britain) 69 66 70 73 279 Mathias Groenberg (Sweden) 74 66 69 70
Marc Warren (Britain) 70 70 69 70
Shane Lowry (Ireland) 69 69 71 70
Lorenzo Gagli (Italy) 69 67 72 71
Bradley Dredge (Britain) 69 69 72 69
Ernie Els (South Africa) 73 70 65 71
David Howell (Britain) 71 72 67 69
Oliver Wilson (Britain) 67 71 69 72
Maarten Lafeber (Netherlands) 71 71 65 72
Scott Jamieson (Britain) 68 74 68 69
Martin Kaymer (Germany) 70 71 69 69
Alejandro Canizares (Spain) 66 70 71 72
Peter Hanson (Sweden) 72 70 69 68 280 Anders Hansen (Denmark) 70 69 70 71
Dustin Johnson (U.S.) 72 71 67 70
Richard Johnson (Sweden) 71 69 70 70
James Kingston (South Africa) 68 69 70 73
Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 70 72 68 70
Matthew Baldwin (Britain) 69 69 72 70
Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 68 72 71 69
Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 67 71 73 69 281 Graham DeLaet (Canada) 71 69 69 72
Phillip Price (Britain) 71 67 69 74
Richard Finch (Britain) 69 72 69 71
Colin Montgomerie (Britain) 71 70 69 71
Jaco Van Zyl (South Africa) 72 69 70 70
Tommy Fleetwood (Britain) 66 73 72 70 282 Robert Rock (Britain) 71 72 66 73
Tjaart Van der Walt (South Africa) 72 70 69 71 283 Simon Khan (Britain) 68 69 70 76
Pablo Martin (Spain) 67 70 74 72
Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark) 69 73 69 72 284 Pat Perez (U.S.) 72 70 69 73
Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) 75 70 66 73 285 Rikard Karlberg (Sweden) 67 73 70 75 287 Fabrizio Zanotti (Paraguay) 68 66 76 77

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