Skip to main content

Grace seizes last-minute opportunity to lead Volvo Golf Champions at halfway

updated 1:02 PM EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Branden Grace powered to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in South Africa.
Branden Grace powered to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in South Africa.
  • Branden Grace leads Volvo Golf Champions event at Fancourt by four shots
  • South African cards seven-under 66 for halfway total of 12-under 134
  • Grace was last man to qualify after winning Joburg Open last week
  • Camilo Villegas and David Toms lead Humana Challenge on PGA Tour

(CNN) -- Branden Grace stepped up his bid for back-to-back tournament wins by taking a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions tournament at The Links at Fancourt Friday.

The 23-year-old South African carded a seven-under-par 66 to set the pace on 12-under 134 after two rounds.

Compatriot Thomas Aiken, who shot 70, and England's Lee Slattery, who raced up the field with a best-of-the-day 65, are his nearest challengers.

European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain showed he is still a force at 45 with an impressive 68 to be alone on fourth on 139.

Grace only received an invitation to the 35-strong champions-only field by winning last week's Joburg Open and has seized his opportunity in fine style.

He was paired with first round leader Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, who crashed to a 76 to fall six shots off the pace.

Home favorite Ernie Els, fellow three-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland and reigning British Open champion Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland are eight shots off the blistering pace being set by Grace.

Meanwhile, Colombia's Camilo Villegas and David Toms of the United Stages led after the first round of the PGA Tour's $5.6 million Humana Challenge in California.

Villegas carded his nine-under 63 on the Nicklaus Private Course and Toms matched him at La Quinta Country Club.

South Korean rooke Bae Sang-moon was in the chasing group on 64 with Ted Potter, Brandt Snedeker and Bob Estes.

Toms played with star attraction Phil Mickelson, who struggled to a two-over 74 after a triple-bogey seven at the par-four 14th, on the toughest of the three courses used for the tournament.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who is set to play with Australian veteran Greg Norman Saturday in the revised pro-am format, was among the watching crowd Thursday.

Norman, making his first start on the regular tour since 2009, carded a 72.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
updated 5:24 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.