Seven-time European Tour winner, Branden Grace, says he will be aiming for nothing less than a victory at this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, having finished in a share of third here last year.
‘It’s great to be back,’ he said on Wednesday. ‘I’ve played well here the last couple of years and hopefully I can go one better here this year. I have had a few victories at home so it’s always a lot sweeter at home, and I love being at Sun City.’
He’s justified for feeling he can win at the Gary Player Country Club because while the Nedbank Golf Challenge title has proven elusive to South African players since Trevor Immelman in 2007, Grace finished third here last year and feels a solid start to this US$7.5 million event might bring him the win he and many others long for here.
‘This is one of those events you grow up watching and idolising and dreaming of winning,’ Grace said, ‘I feel like I’ve got a good chance to play well and if I can get myself in contention, you never know.
‘Coming to play in your home country always makes things extra special and, like I said, I feel like if I play well I have a good chance around here.’
Grace has recorded some good results in the last five months on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour. Last month alone on the PGA Tour, he finished in a share of 32nd at the CIMB Classic, tied for 15th at The CJ Cup @Nine Bridges as well as a share of 15th at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
On the European Tour front, that share of sixth at the 146th Open Championship remains his best finish this season.
‘My game is feeling really good right now,’ said Grace. ‘I’ve had some steady finishes the last couple of weeks. Coming up with two top-15s in the last couple big events on the PGA Tour which has been great. I also had a week off which I think was needed. But I’m hitting the ball well and the whole game is in good shape so I hope to finish off strong this week.’
He, as many others do, feels it’s about time that a South African player wins this tournament.