Grace cracks World Top 10

FILE PICTURE: Branden Grace. Photo by Petri Oeschger / Sunshine Tour / Gallo Images

Three top five finishes on the European Tour have helped Grace crack the top 10.

South Africa’s Branden Grace broke into the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings released on Monday and said being among the world’s elite was where he intended to remain for some time.

Starting out the year ranked 14th in the world, Grace has compiled three top five finishes on the European Tour including a stunning win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the end of January, when he became the first player to successfully defend the title.

“One of my goals was to get in the top 10. I’m not the type of guy that sits on the 1st of January and sets out goals,” the 27-year-old Grace said.

“I kind of make goals as I go. Top 10 in the world is definitely where I want to be. That’s just the next step in my career.”

Grace who burst onto the European Tour scene in 2012 with four wins has now seven victories on the circuit to his name.

Like Charl Schwartzel who won the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday, Grace works with visual skills coach Sherylle Calder specifically on improving performances with the putter. Calder has previously worked with the World Cup winning Springbok team in 2007 and Ernie Els before he won the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Grace did not win on the European Tour in 2013 and 2014, but the renewed focus with Calder on his putting has been the key to regaining his Championship winning form. But Grace again returned to the winners circle in 2015 with two victories in Europe, and also contended in the Majors with a tied fourth finish at the US Open and a solo third place at the PGA championship.

“The one thing that kept me back the last couple years was the putting. Last year the putting was a big key [to improvement].

“I’ve been working hard with Sherylle Calder week in, week out to get the putting to a level of consistency to try and give myself chances. It might not be more than two shots a round, but that’s eight a tournament.”

Louis Oosthuizen is the second-ranked SA player at 21st in the rankings, with Schwartzel at number 31 following his win on the weekend.

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