Branden aces start of Finals Series

Branden Grace made a hole-in-one at the 17th during his Wednesday practice round at the BMW Masters and it sparked his self-confidence going into the week at Lake Malaren Golf Club.


On Thursday the four-time European Tour winner started on the 10th during the first tournament round and tried to recreate his shot at the 17th in the hopes of hitting two aces in two days.


“I was actually chatting with the guys about how nice the car was and yesterday I hit seven-iron and it took one bounce and went in. Today I wondered if I could do two in a row, because Keith Horne did it a couple of years ago at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. I hit right behind yesterday’s pin placement, so if the pin placement hadn’t changed it would have been in! It’s a good omen for the rest of the week,” he said.


The 26-year-old has a good hold on the course and is coming into form as the European Tour heads into the season-ending Finals Series. It’s the right time to be playing well and he’ll look to build on his opening share of sixth place.


“This is one of the longest courses we play all year and this time around it’s wet and playing extra long. It’s a tough track and you really have to be on top of your game to take advantage of the birdie chances, which I did today. I think it was a good start to the week,” he said.


Also tied for sixth place was Richard Sterne, who has been attempting the tough task of playing both the PGA and European Tours. The word number 76 has overcome injury woes and was firing in China on Thursday.


“I got off to a good start and made five birdies on the front nine. It’s always nice to start a tournament that way. There are a couple of tough holes and you’ve got to hit some really good shots, so four-under is a pretty good way to get things going,” he said.


The 33-year-old made it into the 2015 PGA Tour through the Tour Finals series and then turned his attention to the Race to Dubai. He’s headed in the right direction after shooting 68 on Thursday.


“I was injured and had a hip operation in March. I was out for four months after that and then played quite a bit in the United States to try for my card, which I’ve managed to do. I’ve been playing a lot since I’ve had the operation and it’s holding up.


“I’ve been doing a lot of work to get my game back to where it can be and hopefully today was the start of something good. There are three big weeks ahead and I could end the Race to Dubai well,” he said.


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