Amazing Grace can’t save Presidents Cup


dBranden Grace of South Africa was simply amazing for the International Team at the Presidents Cup, even as his team suffered a tough loss to the Americans.

In Sunday’s singles at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, west of Seoul, the 27-year-old defeated Matt Kuchar 2 & 1 to complete a perfect 5-0-0 week.

He’d teamed up with countryman Louis Oosthuizen to win all four matches the previous three days — a foursome match on Thursday, a four-ball match on Friday and a foursome and a four-ball match on Saturday.

Grace, world No. 22 who posted two top-5s at majors this year, became just the fifth player in Presidents Cup history, and the second International player, to win all five matches in a single competition. Mark O’Meara in 1996, Tiger Woods in 2009 and Jim Furyk in 2011 did so for the United States, while Shigeki Maruyama of Japan won all five matches in 1998 for the Internationals.

Grace’s heroics couldn’t quite get the International Team past the favored Americans, though it could also be argued that the competition wouldn’t have been nearly as close without him.

And it was a dramatic turn of events for Grace, who was 0-4-0 in his Presidents Cup debut two years ago.

“This was a pretty big step up in the right direction,” he said. “It was fun. Coming and getting five points for the team is pretty big.”

Captain Nick Price put Grace in the second-to-last pairing Sunday, and the International Team needed every single point it could squeeze out down the stretch to give the Americans a run for their Cup.

Grace said he embraced the challenge of being one of the last to go.

“I knew Pricey put me in the back for kind of a reason, and it was a great game,” said Grace, who was 5-up at the turn and fended off Kuchar on the back nine. “I didn’t really do anything wrong the first nine, which was good. And unfortunately for Kuch, he didn’t play so good the first nine.”


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