Grace posts first career victory at Cola-Cola

GEORGE, South Africa – Branden Grace waited four years for his first Sunshine Tour victory. Winning it in front of friends and family on a course he played growing up proved sweet. Showing his mettle before golf legend Gary Player meant even more.

The four-year pro took home the Coca-Cola Championship title Nov. 18 in a two-shot victory over Justin Walters and Ulrich van den Berg. Darren Fichardt was a stroke further back in fourth.

Player, a nine-time major champion, served as tournament host. He congratulated Grace and presented him with the trophy at the Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate.

“It makes it extra-special,” said Grace, who finished the three-round event at 7-under 209. “What he does for South African golf and for the country in general is just amazing, and it makes me feel really great winning in front of him.”

It certainly didn’t come easy for Grace with three bogeys creeping in through the middle stages of his final round, but he came back with five birdies to fire a 2-under 70.

Before the elusive victory, Grace had recorded 11 top-10s since 2008.

Grace had spent most of this season jumping between the European Challenge Tour and the European Tour with little success. But he returned to the Sunshine Tour for South Africa’s summer. and After some strong finishes, including a tie for second at the Nashua Masters, he finally earned what he coveted for so long.

Sunshine Tour contributed to this report.

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