Grace finds mojo as Charl charges at WGC-Cadillac

While the attention at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship was focused on the top of the leaderboard, Branden Grace clocked up a brilliant bogey-free 64 in the third round to eventually get him into a share of 35th.

The 23-year-old who vaulted his way into the top 100 players in the world with back-to-back European Tour victories in the Joburg Open and the Volvo Champions closed with a two-under-par 70 to finish 12 shots behind winner Justin Rose.

And had it not been for his disappointing first round of 78 at TPC Blue Monster at Doral in Florida – four bogeys and two double-bogeys completely nullified his two birdies – he could have been in the mix going into a final day which saw a lot of action at the top of the leaderboard.

While Bubba Watson allowed a self-fulfilling prophecy to initiate his final-round implosion – “You know, this golf course doesn’t really suit me,” he said after his brilliant 62 in round two – Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel were making sure Rose worked hard all the way to the finish for his victory.

McIlroy cemented his world number one ranking with a closing 67 lifting him to third behind Watson, while Schwartzel closed with a 68 for a share of fourth with Swede Peter Hanson.

And while Grace will take much from his third round and apply it to his play on the European Tour when he resumes his campaign there, Schwartzel will be doing some more polishing of a game which is coming round in time for his title defence of the Masters at Augusta National which begins on April 5.

“It’s disappointing, but you look at a 68 in these conditions, I think that’s very decent,” said Schwartzel. “I gave it a run and it was a good week, and I’ll try again in Tampa next week.”

After that, he takes a week off and gets ready for the Masters.

And while Schwartzel was the best of the South Africans, and Grace’s 64 the best round by a South African during the week, 2011 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner Garth Mulroy played steady golf throughout for his share of 29th.

Retief Goosen had his best round of the tournament with his closing 70 and a share of 45th, while South African Open champion Hennie Otto battled to a final 77 and a 50th-place finish.

Jbe’ Kruger couldn’t get a round going throughout the tournament, but was only marginally over-par in his closing 73 and 74 for a slice of 57th, while Louis Oosthuizen gradually got over his sinus problems of the week before and finished 60th.

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