Branden Grace

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Branden Grace
— Golfer —
Branden Grace 2016 Qatar Masters Champion ,photos by Hanson K Joseph.jpg
Grace at the 2016 Qatar Masters
Personal information
Full name Branden John Grace
Born (1988-05-20) 20 May 1988 (age 28)
Pretoria, South Africa
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb; 12.3 st)
Nationality  South Africa
Residence George, South Africa
Manchester, England
Career
Turned professional 2007
Current tour(s) European Tour
Sunshine Tour
PGA Tour
Former tour(s) Challenge Tour
Professional wins 11
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 1
European Tour 7
Sunshine Tour 5
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament T18: 2013
U.S. Open T4: 2015
The Open Championship T20: 2015
PGA Championship 3rd: 2015
Achievements and awards
Sunshine Tour
Order of Merit winner
2012

Branden John Grace (born 20 May 1988) is a professional golfer from South Africa who currently plays on the European Tour, the PGA Tour, and the Sunshine Tour. In 2012, he became the first player in the history of the European Tour to win his first four European Tour titles in the same year.[1] Grace has joined the PGA Tour for the 2016 season.

Amateur career[edit]

Grace was born in Pretoria. As an amateur he participated in the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation.[2] He won the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2006.[3] He turned professional in 2007.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Grace played on the Challenge Tour in 2007 which is Europe's second tier tour. He only played in eight events but recorded two top-ten finishes.[5] In 2008 he played on the Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour. He finished 35th on the Challenge Tour's Order of Merit while recording three top-10 finishes including finishing in a tie for second at the Ypsilon Golf Challenge.[6] He then earned his European Tour card for 2009 through qualifying school.[7]

In 2009, Grace struggled on the European Tour but finished in a tie for second at the Africa Open on the Sunshine Tour, behind winner Retief Goosen. He finished in the top 10 in seven of the nine Sunshine Tour events that he played in en route to an 11th-place finish on the Order of Merit. He picked up his first professional win in 2010 at the Coca-Cola Charity Championship on the Sunshine Tour. In 2011 he finished 24th on the Challenge Tour's Order of Merit while recording five top-10 finishes. He also finished 7th on the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit. He went back to qualifying school to earn his European Tour card for 2012.

2012: Breakthrough season[edit]

In January he won the Joburg Open which was co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour. He won by one stroke over Jamie Elson. He then won the Volvo Golf Champions the following week to make it back-to-back European Tour victories, beating his veteran compatriots Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a playoff with a birdie on the first hole. Grace became the first player since Fred Couples in 1995 to follow his first victory with another consecutively. As a result, Grace moved inside the world's top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

On 22 April, Grace won his third tournament on the European Tour when he won the Volvo China Open. Only two players have won three European Tour titles in a single season at a younger age, Seve Ballesteros did it three times between 1977 and 1980, and Sandy Lyle did it in 1979. Grace also became only the third South African to win three times in a single season, joining Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. He also became only the second player in European Tour history to win three times in the season after graduating from qualifying school.[8]

In September, Grace captured his third Sunshine Tour title at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final. On 7 October, Grace won his fourth European Tour title and fifth worldwide title of 2012 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.[1] He broke the scoring record at the tournament to win at 22 under par, two strokes clear of Thorbjørn Olesen. His record total included a European Tour record equalling 60 at Kingsbarns during the first round. Grace moved to third in the Race to Dubai and also to a career high 37th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Grace capped off a highly successful 2012 season by winning the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

2013–2016[edit]

Grace had a less successful season in 2013, finishing 18th on the European Tour's Race to Dubai,[5] his best finish being second in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open where he lost in a sudden-death playoff to Phil Mickelson.[9] During 2014, Grace continued his high showings on the European Tour Race to Dubai. Despite a second winless season, Grace finished 31st in the year end standings,[5] with a best performance of second in the Volvo Golf Champions.[10]

In December 2014, as part of the 2015 European Tour season, Grace won his fifth European Tour event, and first since 2012, at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. Grace won the event by 7 strokes from fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen.[11] Grace soon followed this up with his second win of the 2015 season with a win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in January 2015.[12] The following month, he won again on home soil at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour, with a two stroke victory over Keith Horne.

At the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Grace held a share of the lead through 54 holes. On Sunday, he was in the penultimate group with eventual champion, Jordan Spieth, and was still tied for the lead heading to the 16th hole, until he blocked his drive to the right and out of bounds, forcing him to re-tee and eventually leading to a double bogey to spiral him out of contention to win. He finished with a final round 71, and a tied for 4th position. At the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Grace placed in the top-five for the second time in his career at the major championships, when he placed third.

At the 2015 Presidents Cup, Grace would have a perfect week. On the opening day (Thursday foursomes), Grace teamed with fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen to defeat Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed in comfortable fashion 3 and 2. On Day 2 (Friday fourball), Grace would again team with Oosthuizen in a dominant performance against world number one Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson winning 4 and 3. On Day 3 (Saturday morning foursomes), Grace for a third time teaming with Oosthuizen, won in another comfortable match 3 and 2, defeating the team of Reed and Rickie Fowler. Later in the day during (Saturday afternoon fourball), teaming with Oosthuizen a fourth and final time, the team won its fourth match against the undefeated duo of Bubba Watson and J. B. Holmes. The fourball match being the only time Grace would see the 18th hole all week, his team winning 1 up at the last. On the final day of the event (Sunday singles), Grace played against Kuchar and started out red hot, dominating Kuchar on the front nine. Kuchar fought back from several holes down before losing 2 and 1. Grace's perfect record of 5–0–0 was the fifth such occasion in Presidents Cup history and just the second time for the International side.

On January 30, 2016, Grace defended his Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title for his seventh victory on the European Tour. He finished two strokes ahead of Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Thorbjorn Olesen, after shooting a three under round of 69 on a day when he started two back of leader Paul Lawrie. Grace became the first player to successfully defend the tournament.

On 17 April 2016, Grace claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage after shooting a final round 66.

Professional wins (11)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (1)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runners-up
1 17 Apr 2016 RBC Heritage −9 (66-74-69-66=275) 2 strokes England Luke Donald, Scotland Russell Knox

European Tour wins (7)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 15 Jan 2012 Joburg Open1 −17 (67-66-65-72=270) 1 stroke England Jamie Elson
2 22 Jan 2012 Volvo Golf Champions −12 (68-66-75-71=280) Playoff South Africa Ernie Els, South Africa Retief Goosen
3 22 Apr 2012 Volvo China Open2 −21 (67-67-64-69=267) 3 strokes Belgium Nicolas Colsaerts
4 7 Oct 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship −22 (60-67-69-70=266) 2 strokes Denmark Thorbjørn Olesen
5 14 Dec 2014 Alfred Dunhill Championship1 −20 (62-66-72-68=268) 7 strokes South Africa Louis Oosthuizen
6 24 Jan 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters −19 (67-68-68-66=269) 1 stroke Scotland Marc Warren
7 30 Jan 2016 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (2) −14 (70-67-68-69=274) 2 strokes Spain Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Denmark Thorbjørn Olesen

European Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2012 Volvo Golf Champions South Africa Ernie Els, South Africa Retief Goosen Won with birdie on first extra hole
2 2013 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open United States Phil Mickelson Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Sunshine Tour wins (5)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 18 Nov 2010 Coca-Cola Charity Championship −7 (68-71-70=209) 2 strokes South Africa Ulrich van den Berg, South Africa Justin Walters
2 15 Jan 2012 Joburg Open1 −17 (67-66-65-72=270) 1 stroke England Jamie Elson
3 28 Sep 2012 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final −10 (69-72-68=209) 3 strokes South Africa Allan Versfeld
4 14 Dec 2014 Alfred Dunhill Championship1 −20 (62-66-72-68=268) 7 strokes South Africa Louis Oosthuizen
5 22 Feb 2015 Dimension Data Pro-Am −11 (71-68-69-70=278) 2 strokes South Africa Keith Horne

1 Co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine Tours.
2 Co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the OneAsia Tour.

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP T18 CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP T51 CUT DNP T4 T5
The Open Championship T43 DNP DNP T77 T64 T36 T20 T72
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP CUT CUT T46 3 T4

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
U.S. Open 0 0 0 2 2 2 4 3
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 6
PGA Championship 0 0 1 2 2 2 5 3
Totals 0 0 1 4 4 6 19 13
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 3 (three times, current)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (four times)

Results in World Golf Championships[edit]

Results not in chronological order prior to 2015.

Tournament 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Cadillac Championship T35 T49 T40 54 T23
Dell Match Play DNP R64 R64 R16 T18
Bridgestone Invitational T36 T65 T23 T17 T10
HSBC Champions DNP T39 DNP T5 T30

DNP = Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Yellow background for top-10.

Team appearances[edit]

Professional

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]