Grace wins China Open for third title of 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
TIANJIN, China - Branden Grace of South Africa shot a final-round 3-under 69 Sunday to win the China Open by three shots.
The 23-year-old Grace started the round with a three-shot lead over 2011 winner Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and maintained that lead to finish with a 21-under 267.
Colsaerts sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 9th to briefly close to within two shots but he three-putted the next hole for his first bogey in 34 holes to fall back to three behind.
Colsaerts also closed with a 69 to finish second at 18 under. England's Richard Finch was third a shot further back after carding a closing 66.
It was Grace's third European Tour victory of 2012 after back-to-back wins in January at the Joburg Open and Volvo Champions events in South Africa.
With the victory Grace becomes only the second player after Sweden's Johan Edfors in 2007 to win three times in a year after emerging from the European Tour's qualifying school.
"To get three before the start of May is unbelievable. But I have been playing well, getting myself into contention and making the most of the opportunities," he said.
"At first I was thinking about trying to keep my playing card this year but now I feel I have the ability to go out and win every week and I have had that mindset for some time."
Victor Dubuisson of France and George Coetzee of South Africa finished in joint fourth on 272. Five players including Francesco Molinari of Italy and Australia's Marcus Fraser finished another shot back in joint sixth.