Branden Grace brings a little sporting joy to South Africa

‘It was a hard weekend for South African sports fans but luckily this can put a couple of smiles on faces’

South Africa’s Branden Grace  is sprayed with champagne after his victory on the 18th green during the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player CC  in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

South Africa’s Branden Grace is sprayed with champagne after his victory on the 18th green during the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player CC in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Branden Grace sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to set up victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday as he carded a blistering final round 66 to win by a single shot from Scotland’s Scott Jamieson.

The 29-year-old came from three shots back overnight at the Gary Player Country Club for an 11-under-par total of 277, an eighth European Tour victory and a cheque for just over €1 million in the penultimate event of the season.

Grace is the first home winner of South Africa’s biggest tournament – dubbed Africa’s Major – since Trevor Immelman a decade ago after going out in 33 on Sunday and then sinking three more birdies on the back nine for a six-under-par round.

Jamieson, 33, had a one-shot lead after Saturday but ended on 278 following a final round 70 which included a double bogey at the eighth hole.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson was third. The second-round leader had started seven under par and picked up two more shots on Sunday with a final round 70.

Chinese golfer Li Haotong recorded the best round of the tournament on Sunday, storming up the leaderboard to fourth with a 64.

It was Grace’s first tournament win since he enjoyed success on the PGA Tour in South Carolina some 18 months ago.

“It’s a dream come true to win. It was a hard weekend for South African sports fans but luckily this can put a couple of smiles on faces,” he said, referring to the Springboks’ 38-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday and South Africa’s soccer team failure to qualify for the World Cup on Friday .

“I felt if I could go bogey free today I would have a chance. I drove well all week and it allowed me to be aggressive when I needed to be and it paid off,” he added.

In July, Grace shot a 62 in the third round of the British Open at Royal Birkdale to set the record for the lowest round in a Major championship.

Shane Lowry finished best of the three Irish golfers in the field, carding a one-under 71 to close on two under for a share of 12 position.

Paul Dunne made a return to top form after three mediocre rounds as he enjoyed a six-birdie error-free round of 66 to finish on one under.

Both Dunne (15th position) and Lowry (50th) are among the top 60 taking part in the season finale in Dubai next weekend.

Pádraig Harrington misses out on that event, the three-time Major winner finishing up with a three-over 75 at Sun City to slip out to four over.

FINAL LEADERBOARD

British and Irish unless stated, par 72:

277 Branden Grace (Rsa) 68 75 68 66

278 Scott Jamieson 68 73 67 70

279 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 68 70 71 70

281 Haotong Li (Chn) 70 77 70 64

282 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73 69 69 71

283 Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 71 69 75 68, Lee Westwood 70 70 74 69

284 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 71 73 70 70, Matthew Fitzpatrick 70 77 68 69

285 Tommy Fleetwood 73 74 67 71, Graeme Storm 69 75 71 70

286 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 78 69 68, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 69 73 72 72, Alex Noren(Swe)69 72 75 70, Thorbjorn Olesen(Den)71 75 73 67, Haydn Porteous(Rsa)73 73 67 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 71 72 72 71, Shane Lowry 72 71 72 71

287 Richie Ramsay 73 70 72 72, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 72 74 68 73, Paul Waring 70 73 73 71, Tyrrell Hatton 71 70 76 70, Ian Poulter 74 72 70 71, Benjamin Hebert(Fra)74 69 74 70, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 67 77 74 69, Richard Sterne(Rsa)74 72 69 72

288 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 73 75 65 75, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 71 77 68 72

289 Paul Dunne 74 76 73 66, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 70 77 72 70, Callum Shinkwin 70 75 74 70, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 70 75 73 71, Lee Slattery 70 74 74 71

290 Matt Wallace 75 75 71 69, Ross Fisher 70 71 73 76, Eddie Pepperell 74 74 69 73

291 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 70 78 72 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 72 77 70 72, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra)70 74 75 72, Gregory Bourdy (Fra)75 70 72 74, George Coetzee (Rsa)77 71 72 71

292 David Horsey 73 71 73 75, David Drysdale 72 73 69 78, Julian Suri (USA)68 75 75 74, Dean Burmester (Rsa)77 72 71 72, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Th) 74 75 72 71, David Lipsky(USA)74 76 77 65, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp)72 78 72 70, Sam Brazel(Aus)74 72 72 74, Dylan Frittelli(Rsa)75 75 69 73, Pádraig Harrington 74 72 71 75

294 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 71 73 73 77, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 71 74 77 72, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn)69 76 70 79

295 Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 73 79 74 69, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 76 75 73 71

296 Scott Hend (Aus) 80 73 68 75, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 76 75 74 71

297 Romain Wattel (Fra) 76 76 75 70

298 Stephen Gallacher 74 75 74 75, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 79 73 77 69, Adrian Otaegui (Esp)74 76 73 75, Renato Paratore (Ita)72 79 77 70, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp)76 74 74 74

299 Andy Sullivan 79 72 79 69

300 Marc Warren 71 76 75 78, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 76 79 75 70

301 Chris Wood 72 75 75 79

303 Andres Romero (Arg) 74 77 75 77

306 Andrew Dodt (Aus) 78 77 74 77

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.