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Els proud of foundation graduate Grace as he sets Dunhill pace

updated 5:54 PM EDT, Sat October 6, 2012
Branden Grace tees off during his round at Carnoustie in the Dunhill Links Championship.
Branden Grace tees off during his round at Carnoustie in the Dunhill Links Championship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Branden Grace leads Dunhill Links Championship
  • Takes a four-shot lead into final round at St Andrews
  • Earns plaudits from fellow South African Ernie Els
  • Dane Thorbjorn Olesen nearest challenger

(CNN) -- Ernie Els protege Branden Grace will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews as he bids for a remarkable fourth European Tour win this season.

The 24-year-old South African is yet another graduate of the foundation run by this year's British Open champion Els and has enjoyed a purple patch in 2012.

He shot a three-under 69 at Carnoustie, the toughest of the three courses used in the tournament, to go to 20-under 196 after three rounds.

Els, who shot a 65 at St Andrews, is 12 shots adrift and believes Grace has the make of a major champion.

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"He's good enough to win an Open -- he's that good," Els told the European Tour website.

"I remember winning the (2007) South African Open and he was top amateur," he added.

"He's always been a quality player and he's a world contender now."

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen is Grace's nearest challenger on 16-under, with Swedes Fredrik Andersson Hed and Alex Noren in third spot on 15-under.

Ryder Cup stars Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson just made the cut on six and five under respectively but home hero Paul Lawrie missed out.

American Dustin Johnson, who won all three of his matches at Medinah, was on the same mark as Kaymer.

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