Branden Grace shoots scorching 62, wins South African Open on home soil

January 12, 2020
Branden Grace SA Open

There are Sunday charges, and then there’s what Branden Grace did in the final round of the South African Open this morning. The South African caught fire, torching his way through the Firethorn Course at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg to a blistering 9 under 62 and the title.

“That was remarkable, I’m lost for words really,” Grace said in an interview with the European Tour after his round. “I played flawless golf, I can’t remember the last time the putter was that hot.”

Grace overcame a three-shot Sunday deficit to fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen en route to the victory, drilling eight birdies and an eagle in his final round. Grace went 10 under through his final 16 holes after beginning the day one over through two, including birdies on four of five holes to open the back nine.

“I told my caddie on 16, ‘I’ve made 6 one-putts leading up to this hole on the back-nine,'” he said.

He even withstood a furious comeback from Oosthuizen, who aced the par-3 eighth hole to briefly retake the lead from Grace. The win is Grace’s ninth all-time on the European Tour and his 13th overall.

While the 62 marks his lowest-ever score in the final round of a victory, Grace is known for scoring low in big moments. Back in 2017, he recorded the first-ever 62 in major championship history in the third round of the Open Championship from Royal Birkdale.

“Sometimes it helps not knowing these things,” he said at the time.

He certainly knew the stakes today, in the midst of what he’ll likely remember as the second-best 62 of his playing career (though we’d venture to guess he probably doesn’t mind having to pick a “favorite” 62). A victory meant both a guaranteed spot in the Open Championship and a chance to celebrate with the home crowd.

“It was amazing. This means so much to any South African, winning on your own home soil,” Grace said. “The guys get so behind you and it’s such an emotional feeling.”

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