The phenomenal 50-foot putt Branden Grace sunk for birdie on the 16th hole meant he was leading the Nedbank Golf Challenge for the first time and the 29-year-old held on that advantage to become the first South African winner in 10 years at Sun City’s showpiece event.
The putt was made doubly special because up till then Grace just could not find the hole despite hitting every green in regulation and being magnificent off the tee.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 12, 2017
“I hit the ball superbly and gave myself lots of chances. I didn’t take all of them, but I was bogey-free and I knew I had to do that to have a chance because I was quite a bit behind at the start. Scott Jamieson and Victor Dubuisson played great too and I knew I had to make birdies and stay patient.
“I was hitting the ball closer than they were and then I was making good strokes on my putts but they just weren’t going in. Some of them you don’t know why they don’t go in because they are good putts. But then the one on 16 was special and then you forget about all the rest,” Grace said.
The Fancourt-based golfer described it as an amazing feeling to add his name to a list of winners that includes such golfing greats as Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros.
To become the first South African winner since Trevor Immelman in 2007 only added to the lustre of his achievement.
“It’s an awesome feeling, as a South African it’s the one event you really want to win and I’m very happy to have my name on that trophy now. This is a very special place, with a lot of history – Africa’s Major – and with it also being part of the Finals Series, it’s definitely one of my biggest wins,” Grace said.