Pros advice

Amazing Grace claims Nedbank glory at Sun City

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Home favourite Branden Grace claimed his eighth European Tour victory on Sunday as he held off the chasing pack in fine style.

So what happened at the Nedbank Golf Challenge?

Branden Grace produced a phenomenal final round of 66 (6-under) on Sunday at Sun City to take a one shot victory at the Nedbank Challenge.

The South African remained in a three-way tie with Victor Dubuisson and Scott Jamieson with just four holes to play but an incredible 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th gave him the slight advantage he needed.

Jamieson saw his chip shot lip out in incredible fashion which would have seen him level at the top of the leaderboard but Grace seized his chance and held the chasing duo at bay.

‘Mr 62‘ then parred home as Jamieson, his closest challenger, faltered to seal his eighth European Tour victory in front of tournament host and South African hero Gary Player.

“This is awesome,” Grace said.

“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.

Talking Points

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood consolidated his number one spot with a tied 10th place finish and now knows that only Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia can stop him finishing the season at the top of the pile next week.

Darren Fichardt had a very different build-up to the rest of the field at Sun City. Fichardt was the sixth reserve at one point but, after Anthony Wall had to withdraw with a back problem, he was in. The South African, winner of the Joburg Open earlier in the season, had a last-minute drive in the morning, he only got in the car on the off chance of a starting spot.

“I was on the road, stuck between trucks, planning to get to Sun City by 8.30. With about 20km to go I phoned the tournament office and they said they thought I was in the tournament. I said ‘you’ve got to be joking’ and they said no, Wall had pulled out and I was first off at 9am!” he said.

“Having been sixth reserve I hadn’t even prepared for the tournament, I was braaing (barbecuing) until midnight. I’ve hit no balls for the last week-and-a-half, and I didn’t have anything set up. So I was quite rattled, I made a few risky overtakes and just left my car at reception and told them to take my keys. I stood on the first tee [the par-five 10th], it didn’t feel like I was playing in the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and I just aimed down the left and told myself to commit to the fade. I nearly missed my first two shots, but then I managed to chip it close, made birdie and then loosened up a bit.”

The scorecard doesn’t paint pictures and all that. Here’s how Nacho Elviramade his par at the par-5 9th. Just a regulation two putts and a five.

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