Grace shines bright at Sun City

Golfer ends SA’s 10­year drought as he takes Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE -

BRAN­DEN Grace be­came the first South African win­ner of the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge in a decade at Sun City yes­ter­day, and South Africa’s great­est ever golfer was the first to jump out of his chair and hug him on be­half of thou­sands of fans.

With a fi­nal round of 66, Grace won “Africa’s Ma­jor” by a sin­gle stroke on 11 un­der par and ended a win drought of South Africans in this event stretch­ing back to Trevor Im­mel­man’s tri­umph in 2007.

The great Gary Player was just as thrilled when con­grat­u­lat­ing Grace at a club named af­ter Player and a course de­signed by him, as well.

“This is awe­some. This is the one event that 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,” said a de­lighted Grace.

The South African was in­volved in a great con­test with Scot­land’s Scott Jamieson that saw them tied for the lead on 10 un­der play­ing the par­three 16th.

With so many Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenges hav­ing been de­cided on this hole, the 2017 edi­tion made for an­other one of these great mo­ments.

Af­ter a way­ward tee shot that hit the grand­stand and bounced back out into the green­side rough, Jamieson al­most holed his chip shot from there, which lipped the hole.

He tapped in for par. That left Grace with an al­most 50­foot putt. And he rolled it straight in to take a one­stroke lead.

That was all the lead he needed and he car­ried it to 18, and into the his­tory books. It was the putt that Player him­self voted as his #Stroke­ofGe­nius for the fi­nal day.

“It was great to fin­ish the way I did. It was great to be able to pull it off. I hit the ball su­perb to­day and gave my­self some chances. I didn’t take all of them, but I did what I needed to do.”

Grace is the sev­enth win­ner on the Euro­pean Tour’s elite Rolex Se­ries this year, and with this be­ing the penul­ti­mate event on the Race to Dubai.

“That’s awe­some. It’s spe­cial to win here, firstly, and then spe­cial to win one of the Rolex Se­ries tour­na­ments as well.”

Jamieson took sec­ond place on 10 un­der with a clos­ing 70, and with his chal­lenge ham­pered by a dou­ble bo­gey six on the tough eighth hole.

French­man Vic­tor Dubuisson took third place on nine un­der par, and China’s Hao­tong Li stormed through the field with a fi­nal round of 64 to fin­ish fourth on seven un­der. — Sport24.

“event This is the one that as a South African you want to win.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Bran­den Grace of South Africa is sprayed with cham­pagne af­ter his vic­tory in the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City yes­ter­day.

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