Grace cruises to Dunhill title|
Malelane, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Branden Grace closed with a 4-
under 68 on Sunday and he cruised to a 7-stroke win at the Alfred Dunhill
Grace, who led by one entering the final round, ended at 20-under-par 268.
This was his fifth European Tour title. His first four victories all came in
the 2012 season.
"It's been a long year, a hard year, but now it's a fairytale ending just
before Christmas," said Grace. "One of the main things this week has been the
driving. I just put a new driver in the bag in Dubai and that's been the key
Former Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen carded a 3-under 69 and he
took second place at minus-13 at Leopard Creek Country Club. Andrew Johnston
tripped to a 1-over 73 in the final round. He ended alone in third place at
Trevor Fisher, Jr. (69) and last week's winner Danny Willett (76) shared
fourth at minus-10. David Drysdale posted a 3-under 69 to improve into a tie
for sixth place. He was joined there by Francesco Molinari, who struggled to a
Grace rolled in a short birdie putt on the second to quickly extend his lead
to three strokes. Another birdie at No. 4 moved Grace to minus-18.
After a pair of pars, Grace missed the green at the par-3 seventh with his tee
shot and he failed to get up and down for par. Despite the bogey, he still led
Grace chipped his second at the short par-4 11th to kick-in range. He made
that birdie, but was just three clear of Willett, who birdied nine and 10.
Willett dropped a shot at 12, but came right back with birdies at 13 and 14 to
inch within two, but Grace answered with a birdie on 13 to move three clear.
Grace traded a birdie for a bogey from the 15th, but he was comfortably ahead
as Willett collapsed down the stretch. Grace 2-putted for birdie at the last
to seal the win.
"It's a little extra special being the first to win both Dunhills. That's
something for the record books," said Grace, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links
Championship in 2012. "It is a great finish to an amazing week."
Willett found water at the par-3 16th and that led to a double-bogey. He
followed with a bogey on 17 and a triple-bogey at the last.
Oosthuizen, the 2006 runner-up, birdied the first, but followed with bogeys on
the second and third. He got back to even-par for his round with a birdie on
Around the turn, he carded birdies at 10 and 11 to get to 12-under. Oosthuizen
picked up two more strokes as he birdied the 15th and 17th, but he closed with
a bogey at the last.
NOTES: Grace earned 237,750 euros for the win ... Grace was the first player
in tournament history to win this title in wire-to-wire fashion ... Despite
good playing conditions, only 23 of the 75 players in the field broke par in
the final round, while 44 players shot over-par rounds, including four rounds
in the 80s ... Lucas Bjerregaard, who played in the final group, struggled to
a 17-over 89, which included seven bogeys, two double-bogeys, a triple-bogey
and a quadruple-bogey ... The European Tour returns to action on January 8th
with the South African Open Championship, where Morten Orum Madsen is the
12/14 12:30:16 ET