Grace getting game together on Challenge Tour

Branden Grace finished second in the Acaya Open in Puglia, Italy over the weekend and it underlined a return to the kind of form which made him a contender in the Sunshine Tour’s summer events at the beginning of the year.

He’s lying seventh on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit thanks to top 10 finishes in the Africa Open, the Dimension Data Pro-Am, the Telkom PGA Championship and the MTC Nambia PGA Championship.

He’s had a bit of an up-and-down time of things in Europe since then, with three missed cuts. But those disappointments have been tempered by five top 10s on the European Challenge Tour – third at the Barclays Kenya Open, 10th at the Madeira Islands Open, seventh at the Telenet Trophy, seventh at The Princess, and then his second at the Acaya Open.

It’s lifted him to seventh on the Challenge Tour money list, and given him hope that he can get the kind of opportunities on the main European Tour that will help him build on his sole professional victory in the 2010 Coca-Cola Championship at Fancourt.

He finished with a final-round six-under-par 64 in Italy, the best closing round in the field, and one better than winner Jamie Moul’s 65 – and he will have looked back on his three-over-par 73 in the second round with some regret.

Grace eagled the seventh in the final round, but dropped a shot on the eighth. He got that stroke back on the 10th, but he followed that with seven consecutive pars before he was able to pick up one more stroke on the 18th.

It was not enough to chase down Moul whose opening 65 set the pace.

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