Grace edges out Scotsman Jamieson at Sun City


Branden Grace

Branden Grace is the first South African to win the Nedbank Challenge in a decade

South Africa’s Branden Grace shot a closing six-under 66 to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge by one shot from Scotsman Scott Jamieson at Sun City.

The final group of France’s Victor Dubuisson, Jamieson and Grace were all locked on 10 under after 14 holes.

A 40-foot birdie putt by Grace, 29, on the 16th gave him the lead outright and proved the decisive move.

He hit all 18 greens in regulation in a bogey-free round, as Jamieson struggled to a 70 with a double bogey on the 8th.

It is Grace’s eighth European Tour victory and the world number 44 becomes the first South African winner in 10 years, following Trevor Immelman’s win in 2007.

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“This is awesome,” said Grace, who had good birdie chances on four successive holes from the 13th as he hit form on the back nine.

“This is the one event as a South African you want to win. It’s Africa’s Major for a reason and what a special place it is.

“There’s a lot of history and a lot of great winners on the trophy and I’m very glad to be able to put my name on the trophy as well.

“It’s a very special week, we found out on Wednesday we’re having a boy.

“I knew I had to stay patient and take the chances when they came my way, but the key one was 16.”

Grace, who announced himself on the world scene with four European Tour titles in 2012, started the day three behind Glaswegian Jamieson and two adrift of Dubuisson.

Scott Jamieson

Jamieson was so close to chipping in for a birdie at the 16th after missing the green from the tee

But Jamieson, 33, who was seeking to become the first Scotsman to win the competition in 21 years, could not find the form that saw him shoot a bogey-free, five-birdie 67 in the third round.

Moments before Grace produced his monster putt on the 16th, playing partner Jamieson’s chip lipped out.

“I’ve played with some of the best in the world this week and proved I can compete,” he said.

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood finished on three under and heads to next week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai knowing only Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia can deny him the crown.

Fleetwood extended his lead at the top after rounds of 67 and 71 over the weekend saw him get into the top 10 at Sun City and give him a 256,737-point lead over second-placed Rose.

“I’ve played brilliantly all year. I think to be in with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, it’s pretty special,” said the player from Southport.

“It’s not a burden. I don’t feel stressed about it, I don’t feel anxious. I just think it’s great that I’ve got the chance to win it and a good chance.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/41961291

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