Sunshine Tour

Grace hopes SA Open win is beginning of bumper year

2020-01-13 12:39
Branden Grace
Branden Grace (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Branden Grace says he hopes his South African Open win is "only the beginning" as he looks forward to the 2020 golfing season.

Grace produced a stunning final round of 62, for a tournament total of 21-under par, to claim his maiden SA Open by three shots at Randpark Golf Club on Sunday.

The 31-year-old pocketed a cool €175 296 (R2.7m) for his efforts.

Following his victory, Grace jumped 58 places - from 129th to 73th - in the world rankings and is now the fourth highest ranked South African.

"It was just an amazing day and I'm glad I could finish it off. It took me long enough to get my hands on the trophy," Grace told reporters on Sunday.

"I ticked off a lot of goals this win - one being getting into The Open. This kick starts it all and it's going to be an exciting year for me."

Grace had to fend off a determined Louis Oosthuizen in the final round.

Oosthuizen, who is SA's top ranked golfer at 18th, took second place on 18-under with a 68 that included a hole-in-one on the 8th hole.

WATCH | Oosthuizen aces 8th hole at SA Open

Grace admitted that it was an added bonus to defeat the defending champion, Oosthuizen.

"It just makes it better beating him to be honest," joked Grace.

"I felt I let it slip last year and it's special for me to finish the way I did this year. To win it by three is remarkable. It's nice knowing that I played better than the world class player like him."

Grace was one of the three players - along with Englishman Marcus Armitage and compatriot Jaco Ahlers - to book their spots for the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St George's Golf Course in Kent.

Grace admitted that he was disappointed that he had to qualify for this year's Open, but is thankful for earning his spot.

"I had a sour taste in mouth last year not knowing that I hadn't secured some of the majors (for this year). This is really putting me back there," said Grace.

Grace's win was his ninth European Tour victory and saw him claim the early No 1 spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.

This week Grace will compete in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship starting on Thursday.

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

 

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