Branden Grace cards a final-round par 72 to win Joburg Open by one stroke
South African finishes on 18 under par to claim his first European Tour win
England's Jamie Elson fires a nine-under-par 63 to finish in second place
South African golfer Branden Grace claimed the first European Tour success of his career on Sunday after holding off Jamie Elson by one shot to win the Joburg Open.
The 23-year-old Grace, who came through qualifying school last year to secure his tour card, posted a level par 72 for a 72-hole total of 270 (-18).
And that proved just enough to keep Elson at bay, after the Englishman replicated his opening round 63 to come agonizingly close to ending his European Tour drought.
It was a solid, if unspectacular, display from Grace, who held a three-stroke lead overnight.
In the end, a round consisting of 16 pars, with just one birdie and one bogey, proved enough for the Pretoria player, despite Elson’s valiant effort to snatch victory.
“It’s a dream come true,” Grace told the European Tour website. “It’s nice to win in front of a home crowd and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else.
“It was pretty tough out there today, I played really nicely and I hit the ball superbly. But my putter was cold – I just couldn’t get the speed of the greens – and fortunately it was still enough to win.”
Six players shared third place, with Scotland’s David Drysdale (67) carding the best round of that group.
Former U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen carded a disappointing one-over 73 to finish seven shots off the winner.