Double glory for Branden at Volvo Champions

Double glory for Grace

South African wins for the second week running on home soil

Branden Grace

Branden Grace won for the second week running as he held his nerve to edge out compatriots Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a play-off at the Volvo Golf Champions.

The 23-year-old South African – who claimed his maiden European Tour event at the Joburg Open last week – had missed a five-foot putt at the last to clinch victory in regulation at Fancourt.

However, he did not let that miss affect him and calmly made a birdie down the 18th at the second time of asking to beat major champions Els and Goosen at the first extra hole.

Els had produced the round of the day as he posted a closing 67, featuring six birdies and an eagle, to move into the lead and set the clubhouse target at 12-under-par.

Final leaderboard

Goosen produced a storming finish of his own as he picked up five shots over the course of his final six holes to match Els and the duo then watched on as Grace and playing partner in the final group,Nicolas Colsaerts, played the closing par-five having both teed off at 12-under.

Wild tee-shot

Colsaerts eventually paid the price for a wild tee-shot as he missed a short putt to sign for a bogey-six which left him one adrift at 11-under.

Grace appeared to have done enough when his well-judged chip left him five feet for birdie, but he pulled it wide of the cup to force extra holes.

The youngster regrouped admirably in the play-off, though, and with Els finding thick rough off the tee and Goosen short and right in two, he put himself in pole position after chasing a low second on to the putting surface.

Goosen then left his chip well short and had to settle for a par-five and when Els’ 20-foot birdie attempt shaved the cup the game was up as Grace completed a solid two-putt to clinch the title.

Grace, who was only last month at qualifying school, becomes the first player since Fred Couples in 1995 to follow his first European Tour win with another.

Charl Schwartzel had looked like the man to beat on the front nine, but paid the price for an erratic back nine as he mixed an eagle and two birdies with two bogeys and a double to finish in fifth at 10-under.

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shared top spot after starting with two birdies, but slipped back to sixth, while Scot Paul Lawrie and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington were tied for 10th.

“I’m really ecstatic,” said Grace after his two-putt birdie at the first extra hole. “It’s a dream come to win such a big event – pretty much the best tournament I’ve played in so far.”

He was 258th in the world little over a week ago, but now moves inside the top 100.

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