Skip to main content

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.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
updated 11:36 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
updated 10:48 PM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
updated 10:12 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
updated 8:02 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.
ADVERTISEMENT