Masters 2013: Getting to know Branden Grace

Branden Grace

Branden Grace

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The Masters

Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club

4/10/2014 - 4/13/2014

Pos Name Thru Today Overall
1 Bubba Watson $1,620,000 600 -8
2 Jonas Blixt $792,000 270 -5
2 Jordan Spieth $792,000 270 -5
4 Miguel Angel Jimenez $432,000 0 -4
5 Rickie Fowler $342,000 115 -2
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To get you ready for the 2013 Masters, we are breaking down the amateurs and first-timers that will play at Augusta National starting on Thursday, April 11.

• • •

Branden Grace

Age: 22

Hometown: Knysna, South Africa

How he qualified: Top 50 in Official World Golf Rankings

It's difficult to go from Qualifying School graduate to European Tour winner, but South Africa’s Branden Grace has made that step with consummate ease.

Grace makes his Masters debut courtesy of a 2012 season that surpassed his wildest dreams. The 22-year-old won four times to rocket up the world rankings, and take his place among golf’s elite in the season’s first major championship.

The man from Pretoria came away from the 2011 European Qualifying School with the 11th card and a ticket for limited starts on the main European Tour. He soon turned it into a VIP pass.

Grace came out of the blocks quickly in 2012 to win the Joburg Open. A week later he bettered childhood heroes Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to win the Volvo Golf Champions tournament. He added the Volvo China Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to place sixth on the European money list with more than €2.5 million in winnings, and take his place comfortably inside the world top 50.

It was the second time around for the strong South African. He also won his 2009 European Tour card at the 2008 Q School, but finished a lowly 148th on the money list with €166,138 in earnings.

So the question is obvious: Why the difference second time around? It comes down to two intangibles – maturity and inspiration.

“I think I’ve grown as a player,” Grace said. “I’ve matured a lot over the last couple of years. I do things a lot differently to the way I did things a few years ago. That’s the secret. I took it a bit for granted when I played on Tour last time. I now know what it’s all about. You have to have a purpose out here, and you have to go about it properly and do it right.

“I do things a lot more professionally. My practice is better. I pace myself better. I approach things a little bit more differently, a bit more professionally. I analyze the rounds better, take more positives out of my rounds and know what to work on to improve.

“I’m hitting the ball longer, my short game is sharper and mentally I’m stronger than what I was, and it shows.”

That’s the maturity side covered. As for the inspiration, Grace says Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel’s major wins have had a huge influence on South African golf.

“I know Charl and Louis pretty well and I feel I’ve been dragged along by their success.

“When Louis won the Open Championship, we had played just a few weeks before and it makes you think if he can do it then anything is possible. Knowing that they can do it you feel you just need to get over that one hurdle then you know you are almost there. What Louis and Charl did in the majors definitely helped me get over the hurdle to win.”

Begin forwarded message:

It difficult to go from Qualifying School graduate to European Tour winner, but South Africa’s Brandon Grace has made that step with consummate ease.

Grace makes his Masters debut courtesy of a 2012 season that surpassed his wildest dreams. The 22-year-old won four times to rocket up the world rankings, and take his place among golf’s elite in the season’s first major championship.

The man from Pretoria came away from the 2011 European Qualifying School with the 11th card and a ticket for limited starts on the main European Tour. He soon turned it into a VIP pass.

Grace came out of the blocks quickly in 2012 to win the Joburg Open. A week later he bettered childhood heroes Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to win the Volvo Golf Champions tournament. He added the Volvo China Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to place sixth on the European money list with over €2.5 million in winnings, and take his place comfortably inside the world top 50.

It was the second time around for the strong South African. He also won his 2009 European Tour card at the 2008 Q School, but finished a lowly 148th on the money list with €166,138 in earnings.

So the question is obvious: why the difference second time around? It comes down to two intangibles – maturity and inspiration.

“I think I’ve grown as a player,” Grace said. “I’ve matured a lot over the last couple of years. I do things a lot differently to the way I did things a few years ago. That’s the secret. I took it a bit for granted when I played on Tour last time. I now know what it’s all about. You have to have a purpose out here, and you have to go about it properly and do it right.

“I do things a lot more professionally. My practice is better. I pace myself better. I approach things a little bit more differently, a bit more professionally. I analyse the rounds a better, take more positives out of my rounds and know what to work on to improve.

“I’m hitting the ball longer, my short game is sharper and mentally I’m stronger than what I was and it shows.”

That’s the maturity side covered. As for the inspiration, Grace says Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel’s major wins have had a huge influence on South African golf.

“I know Charl and Louis pretty well and I feel I’ve been dragged along by their success.

“When Louis won the Open Championship, we had played just a few weeks before and it makes you think if he can do it then anything is possible. Knowing that they can do it you feel you just need to get over that one hurdle then you know you are almost there. What Louis and Charl did in the majors definitely helped me get over the hurdle to win.”

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