Branden Grace rode a hot putter on Sunday to post a final-round 62 and earn a come-from-behind victory at the South African Open.
Third-round leader Louis Oosthuizen, who held a one-shot lead after 54 holes, aced the par-3 eighth hole but it wasn’t enough to hold off Grace, who needed just 22 putts on Sunday and finished 21 under. Oosthuizen finished in second, three shots back. Marcus Armitage was third at 16 under.
This is Grace’s ninth win on the European Tour, and first since the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“That was remarkable,” he said. “I played flawless golf and I can’t remember the last time the putter was that hot.”
He went on to describe his emotions of winning in his home country.
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“This is the one I really wanted. This means so much to any South African, winning on home soil, the guys get so behind you and it’s such an emotional feeling.”
Add in that Grace was able to celebrate with his family and it made for a special day.
“It’s the first win with the little one here so he’s going to have a photo with the trophy and then it’s a good birthday wish to my Mrs. today, she’s a birthday girl today so it’s a good birthday present.”
Despite seven straight pars to open his round, Oosthuizen had lost the lead. But he gained it right back with a hole-in-one on the eighth hole.
Grace’s win secures him a spot in the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. Armitage and Jaco Ahlers also earned spots in the final major of the summer.
Amateur Jayden Trey Schaper, 18, chipped in on 18 to finish 13 under, eight shots off the lead.
The European Tour plays the first of three straight events in the Middle East next week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.