Grace aiming for Volvo ‘Grand Slam’

Branden Grace aims to complete an unprecedented ‘Volvo Slam’ at this week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship, as the South African targets a hat-trick of titles sponsored by the Swedish motor giant in 2012.

After winning the Joburg Open at home in January, Grace qualified for the Volvo Golf Champions the following week where he defeated his legendary compatriots Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a play-off at Fancourt, before winning the Volvo China Open on his last outing in April.

He now has the chance of rewriting the record books as he attempts to become the first Qualifying School graduate to win four times in the season after gaining a European Tour card.

Grace, who faces American Brandt Snedeker and Denmark’s Thomas Björn in the group stage, celebrates his 24th birthday on Sunday and he is hoping for a double celebration as he looks to continue his remarkable 2012 season.

“The thought of a Volvo hat-trick has definitely been in my mind,” he said. “I have had good feelings pretty much every time at a Volvo tournament. I managed to get on to the course this morning, and I am really, really feel comfortable, and really looking forward to the week. The course is in great shape.

“It would be awesome getting three Volvo titles and getting the ‘Grand Slam’ and I’m definitely going to aim for that.

“I definitely think it’s going to be a little bit different this week being match play but my form is still the same. I’m still hitting the ball well and giving myself chances. Especially in match play, if you can keep that going, it puts the pressure on the other guys.

“I haven’t played match play for a long time, but it’s something I really look forward to as a pro. I think the last time I played a match play event I won as an amateur and that was nice and I think match play suits my game a little bit. I’m not a guy that gives up quickly, so I fight to the end and take it from there.

“I don’t think there’s really going to be an easy draw this week, no matter who you are. All of the players are first class and are here for a reason, and I know they can all play the game really good.

“I know Thomas really well but I’ve never really played with him but looking forward to that. Snedeker, he’s a class player, as well. So it’s going to be a good couple of matches going into the week, but if you just keep playing your game and make a couple of putts, you never know.”

Grace admits that winning three times already in 2012, and defeating his two idols in the Volvo Golf Champions, has given him the confidence to compete against a world class field such as the one assembled at Finca Cortesin in Spain.

“I think I see myself as a different golfer now and it (facing top class opponents) doesn’t really bother me anymore,” he said.

“I know that if I keep playing as I know I can play then I can win. It’s one of those things where I feel really positive. I don’t really care who you’re going to play against. You just have to stick to your game and stick to doing what you’re doing, and hopefully at the end of the day you’re going to be on top and it’s going to be good enough.”


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