Branden too good in China

Branden Grace was untouchable at Binhai Lake Golf Club on Sunday and cruised his way to a three-stroke victory, his third on the European Tour this season.

“I thought my first win was around the corner [this season]. To have three before May is literally unbelievable, but I’ve been playing well so I’ve been feeling like I can win and I’ve been giving myself opportunities.”

The 23-year-old took his earning tally to a cool €1.05-million after a final-round 69 kept him three strokes clear of Germany’s Nicolas Colsaerts, the only man to take even a whiff at the lead.

“I stayed really calm today,” said Grace. “I kept hitting the ball well. I missed a couple of shots the first couple of holes but regrouped well and made the birdies where it counts on the par fives, and just stayed with it from there.

He struggled in Europe during 2011, but after a breakthrough win at the 2012 Joburg Open he found the secret to success. A week later he lifted the Volvo Golf Champions trophy, leaping to number one in the Race to Dubai. “I’m definitely here to win every week I play now,” he added.

Due credit must go to caddie to Zack Rasego, who was on Louis Oosthuizen’s bag when he won the 2010 Open Championship. Rasego, now Grace’s caddie, seems to have made the difference to the Fancourt professional’s mindset.

Considering it’s only April, Grace is close to the record-books, with three being the magic number. He is the third-youngest player ever to record three wins in a single season, and is the third South African to do so, following in the footsteps of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.

George Coetzee also shot 69 on Sunday and finished tied fourth, a superb result for the 25-year-old.

But Grace was the man of the hour, and the limelight was his.

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