The 27-year-old South African had won 10 times overseas, finished in the top five last year in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, and went 5-0 for the International team at the Presidents Cup. On Sunday, he shot a 5-under 66 to overtake Luke Donald for his first title on the PGA Tour.
“This really puts the cherry on top of the cake,” Grace said. “And I’m excited for things to start.”
Grace has already fashioned a very accomplished career. He’s 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking and three of his seven career wins on the European Tour have come since 2015.
“I can tick this one off the box and head into the next couple of majors trying to win it,” he said. “I have one notch, I’ve done it before and I can do it again.”
Grace trailed leader Luke Donald by three shots when the round began, but wiped out that deficit by the turn with five birdies. Grace took the lead for good with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13.
He overcame a final challenge on the 16th hole, rolling in a 12-foot par putt to maintain a three-shot lead. A hole behind, Donald lipped out a birdie try. He could get no closer.
Grace finished at 9-under 275, two shots ahead of Donald and Russell Knox. Donald shot a 71, and Knox had a 67.
Grace earned $1,062,000 and a PGA Tour exemption through the 2017-18 season, which he said was a weight off his mind and will allow him to comfortably contend without worrying about keeping his tour card.