“It’s nice to finish off the round with a good birdie on 18,” said Grace. “It’s not a given there, but I was very confident walking up the hole. I made a solid up and down to tie for the lead.”
The five-time European Tour winner ran away with the Alfred Dunhill Championship one month ago and since then he’s been playing golf reminiscent of when he won four times in 2012.
The 26-year-old also reunited with 2012 World Caddie of the Year Zack Rasego, who was on the bag for him during his stellar rookie year on the European Tour.
There was a special moment in his round on Friday that came at the par-four sixth hole. Grace had just made two bogeys in his last three holes and looked to be fading from contention after his tee shot found a grove of trees right of the fairway. The young prodigy played a shot through the trees that Seve Ballesteros would have envied and went on to make the six-footer that he was left with. It was a birdie from nowhere to get back on track.
“On the sixth I saw where it finished and I knew it would take some magic. I could only hit a big hooking wedge, and once I heard the clapping I knew it had come out well. The momentum kept going from there. I got a little bit greedy, but it was nice to bounce back the way I did,” he said.
The Middle East has always been kind to Grace, who likes Doha Golf Club. He liked it even more after shooting 68 on Friday to tie the lead on 13-under-par. Golf is anyone’s game, but the odds certainly favour the young South African.
Two shots off the pace was fellow young gun George Coetzee, who shared fifth on 11-under after carding 70 for his third round. Also waiting in the wings was Darren Fichardt, who loomed in a share of ninth place on eight-under-par.