Grace wins Fancourt playoff

2012-01-22 17:21

George - South Africa's Branden Grace picked up his second win in a row, ousting veterans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a sudden death playoff to win the Volvo Golf Champions European Tour event at the Links at Fancourt on Sunday.

Full scorecard

Grace, who won the Joburg Open last week to qualify for the event, won with a birdie on the first playoff hole - the par five 18th - while Goosen and Els settled for par.

After Grace missed a short putt to win the tournament in regulation play, signing for 71 in the fourth round, the three were tied at 12-under-par 280 for the tournament.

Both Goosen and Grace found the fairway on the playoff hole.

Els deposited his tee shot into the thick rough left of the fairway, leaving a long approach for his third.

Goosen played first and hit his second just next to the green, while Grace found the putting surface, giving him an eagle putt.

Els was then able to find the green with his third shot nestling 15 feet from the pin.

Both Els and Goosen failed in their birdie attempts, while Grace redeemed himself by two-putting for the win.

Earlier, Grace had come up the par-five 18th tied for the lead with his countrymen.

He left his approach just short of the green and hit his chip to a few feet.

With a short putt to win the tournament, he missed and sent the event into a playoff.

Grace, tied for the lead on 10 under overnight, got his round off to a slow start with a double bogey on the third hole and dropped another shot on the fourth.

He made two birdies before the turn while the crowds flocked to the Goosen and Els pairings who were launching an assault.

The 23-year-old collected himself on the back nine with two birdies in a row on 12 and 13.

He also made another timely birdie on the 16th before the ensuing climax on the last hole.

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who shared the lead with Grace heading into the final round, ended fourth, one shot off the pace.

Six of the eight South Africans in the field finished among the top 10.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was fifth, at 10 under, with Louis Oosthuizen taking eighth position at six under and Thomas Aiken placing ninth at five under.

Scores after the final round of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament over the par-73, 6 652m The Links at Fancourt course on Sunday:

280 - Ernie Els (RSA) 71-71-71-67, Retief Goosen (RSA) 72-68-70-70, Branden Grace (RSA) 68-66-75-71
* Grace won in a playoff
281 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 64-76-69-72
282 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 75-67-68-72
284 - Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP) 71-68-72-73
286 - Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 71-69-77-69, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
287 - Thomas Aiken (RSA) 68-70-77-72
288 - Paul Lawrie (SCO) 72-68-74-74, Padraig Harrington (IRL)
289 - Robert Rock (ENG) 73-70-79-67, Oliver Fisher (ENG) 77-72-69-71, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 74-70-72-73, Lee Slattery (ENG)
290 - David Horsey (ENG) 69-72-76-73, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 71-70-75-74, Hennie Otto (RSA) 71-69-76-74, Alexander Noren (SWE)
291 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 75-70-73-73, Darren Clarke (NIR) 74-68-73-76
292 - Tom Lewis (ENG) 68-74-77-73
293 - Matteo Manassero (ITA) 76-73-76-68