Grace keeps his head for fourth victory of 2012

Branden Grace kept his head while all about him were losing theirs on Friday and he won the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at The Links Fancourt for his fourth title of the year.

He defeated Allan Versfeld by three strokes as he carded a final five-under-par 67 – one of only three sub-par rounds on a blustery day on the tough course – to march to a victory that was as impressive as those he achieved in the Joburg Open, the Volvo Champions and the Volvo China Open.

“I really concentrated on keeping my cool in the wind,” he said, “and the strategy paid off when I didn’t drop any shots coming home.”

In fact, he carded a superlative four-under 33 for the homeward nine, and underlined his superiority with a rare birdie-four on the tough 563-metre 18th which was playing into the wind.

“The course was really tough – even if the tees were a bit further up than they were when I won the Volvo Champions, so I’m pleased I played the way I did after a few weeks off from golf,” said Grace, who returns to Europe this weekend ahead of the lucrative Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in a rejuvenated state of mind.

“I think I was just getting tired of playing golf,” said Grace of the last few months which were tougher than his flying start to the year suggested.

“This was one of the toughest days I have played on The Links,” Grace said. “The wind was brutal, and when the rain came, it became extra tough. But being a member here just helped a little bit when it really counted.”

Versfeld, who led going into the final round, and was seeking his second professional title after he won the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at De Zalze in July, battled his way to a three-over 75 after his best-ever score on The Links of 66 in the second round.

Divan van den Heever, who finished third, eight shots behind Grace, made three bogeys in his final five holes as he carded a four-over 77, while Vaughn Groenewald made three bogeys in his final six to also finish with a 77, and wound up 10 off the pace in fourth.

“It was a great week and it gives me a lot of great new memories here at the Links,” said Grace. He might just feel that the Earth and everything that’s in it is his as he heads back to Europe.

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