Grace happy with start to title defence in Sun City

9th November 2018 | Sunshine Tour

Grace happy with start to title defence in Sun City

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Grace happy with start to title defence in Sun City

Defending champion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge presented by Gary Player, Branden Grace, feels that his opening two-under-par 70 at the Gary Player Country Club is a decent start to his title defence in Sun City.

“Great to round to start a defence,” he said with certainty. “It’s never easy defending a title so anything under par was pretty decent. Obviously playing with Rory McIlroy, as well, so it was a good day.”

Grace’s front nine looked as though he was playing things safe, dropping a shot on the par-four fifth and making a birdie on the next hole.

“Very solid,” he said, dissecting his first round. “Couple iffy shots here and there and the one on the pa-five, but it was good. Made a nice couple of putts, as well, get a couple of birdies on the scorecard but it was a good day in all.

“I thought I gave myself some chances but I never really gave myself some great birdie chances. Made some nice putts from 25, 30 feet and never got it really close. When I did, either left it out or short, but all in all very happy with the ball-striking. Nice to keep those numbers off the scorecard, as well, and very excited for what’s to come.”

Tucked in mountainous terrain where the wind tends to swirl and change direction at any time, the Gary Player Country Club is a real challenge, and Grace, who was able to navigate his way to a win here last year, knows what’s required to do well and possibly have a chance of defending his title at the weekend.

“You have to stay patient,” he cautioned, “and the wind swirls a lot especially being inside of these mountains. It wasn’t that it was awfully tough. There was a little bit of wind, but the wind was changing direction every single shot you were hitting.”

Tied for the 11th spot on the leaderboard after round one in Sun City, Grace knows – especially after witnessing Sergio Garcia blaze through the course to card a flawless 64 – that there are low scores out there and with golf changing as much as it does, a better score in the second round will bring him closer to a title defence. But, there’s a lot of work to be done and judging by Garcia’s opening round, things are still going to get interesting.

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