Grace gives home fans something to cheer

SUN CITY (South Africa) • Branden Grace sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th hole to set up victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday.

He carded a six-under 66 in the final round for a one-stroke win over Briton Scott Jamieson.

The 29-year-old came from three shots back overnight at the Gary Player Country Club for an 11-under total of 277, an eighth European Tour victory and a US$1.25 million (S$1.7 million) purse in the penultimate event of the season.

"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," the South African said.

South Africa's football team were eliminated from World Cup qualification on Friday while the Springboks suffered a 38-3 thrashing at the hands of Ireland's rugby team in Dublin on Saturday.

"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," Grace added after his blemish-free round.

He is the first home winner of South Africa's biggest tournament since Trevor Immelman a decade ago. Jamieson, 33, had a one-shot lead after Saturday but ended on 278 after a final round 70.

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

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood's final-day 71 gave the Race to Dubai leader a share of 10th place and ensured the European money-list title will be decided at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, which starts on Thursday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline 'Grace gives home fans something to cheer'. Print Edition | Subscribe