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Grace holds off boyhood heroes Els and Goosen to win in George

updated 1:53 PM EST, Sun January 22, 2012
Branden Grace recorded his second successive win on the European Tour with his victory in George.
Branden Grace recorded his second successive win on the European Tour with his victory in George.
  • Branden Grace wins Volvo Golf Champions event in South Africa after a play-off
  • Grace holds off South African legends Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to claim title
  • South African Grace also won last week's Johannesburg Open on European Tour
  • Grace made birdie on the first extra hole to take the trophy

(CNN) -- A birdie on the first play-off hole saw Branden Grace beat South African legends Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to the Volvo Golf Champions title at the Fancourt course in George.

Grace, a native South African himself, secured his second successive title on home soil after emerging triumphant on the first extra hole after a three-way tie for first.

The 23-year-old only came through the European Tour Qualifying School a month ago and became the first player since Fred Couples in 1995 to follow his maiden Tour win - at the Johannesburg Open last week -- with another.

After finishing on 12-under-par Grace held his nerve in the play-off to edge out Els and Goosen, who have five major championships between them.

Off course with Ernie Els
It's a dream come true to win such a big event -- pretty much the best tournament I've played in so far
Branden Grace

"I'm really ecstatic," Grace told the Tour's official website. "It's a dream come true to win such a big event -- pretty much the best tournament I've played in so far."

Grace recovered after dropping three shots in the opening four holes and was five-under for the rest of his round.

He had a chance to seal the title on the 18th but missed a short birdie putt.

Els recorded a round of 67 that included an eagle on the 13th while Goosen birdied three of the final four holes to shoot 70 and force his way into the playoff.

"A couple more putts here and there and that could have been something special," Els said. "It's a very encouraging week, all four rounds under par, and I'm working on some good stuff."

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts was tied for the lead going down the last but he made a bogey to drop into fourth place while Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, from South Africa, finished fifth on 10-under.

Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal -- who came into the tournament as the lowest ranked player at 596th -- finished sixth on eight-under.

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