Grace shows he really belongs now

It was an important tournament for Branden Grace’s year, and he got a lot accomplished with his fourth-place finish in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth over the weekend.

With his world ranking boosted to 55th, he jetted off to the United States to play in this week’s Memorial Tournament – and with the US Open on June 14, some time on US courses is going to be a good thing.

The three-time winner on this year’s European Tour is now almost certain to get into the US Open based on his Official World Golf Ranking, even though he actually has to wait until June 11, at which date he still has to be inside the world’s top 60.

It’s unlikely he’ll slide out during the next two weeks, but a good performance at the Memorial – in the presence of Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, as well as Tiger Woods and Masters champion Bubba Watson – will cement his position and give him confidence ahead of the US Open.

And the stars certainly seem to be aligned for the 24-year-old this year, as he has seemingly effortlessly rubbed shoulders – and defeated – some of his more illustrious countrymen.

More importantly, he has managed to keep himself afloat when things have seemed to be running against him. That was a failing of his ahead of his Joburg Open victory, and, with caddie Zack Rasego on the bag, he has a calming voice in his head now when things start coming unravelled.

It certainly appeared to be the case at Wentworth last week, where the course certainly had its fair share of victims. He kept his head for rounds of 69-69-73-70, when it would have been easy to have joined the chorus of voices blaming the course and its redesign by Ernie Els for the ballooning third-round scores.

It’s that maturity which now makes it perfectly reasonable to see him tee it up this week in the company of some of the great players in world golf – and to see him as belonging in the company of the likes of countrymen Els, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

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