Grace secures a maiden PGA Tour win, Donald has to settle for second again, a great debut for DeChambeau and Els shows remarkable resolve.
South Africa’s Branden Grace claimed his first PGA Tour victory at Harbour Town Golf Links, winning the RBC Heritage by two over Luke Donald and Russell Knox.
Grace began the final round at Hilton Head three shots behind 54-hole leader Luke Donald, but the 27-year-old had caught the Englishman by the turn, courtesy of five birdies.
Further gains at the 12th and 13th holes put the South African in front and Donald was unable to get on terms. Grace holed a gutsy par putt on the 16th and, just afterwards Donald narrowly missed for birdie on the 15th. Grace held steady over the closing holes to fire a 66 and to secure his first PGA Tour victory.
Scotland’s Russell Knox closed with an excellent 67 to tie Luke Donald on seven-under par in a tie for second place. The Scot has now moved into the top-30 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
4 Talking points from the RBC Heritage
1 – In securing his maiden PGA Tour title, Branden Grace has moved to 11th place on the Official World Golf Ranking. It was his 11th victory on the main world tours as a professional and his fifth since the start of 2014.
Grace is keen to use this result as a springboard to go on and achieve success on the highest stage.
“I’m excited for things to start,” he said. “I can tick this one off the box and head into the next couple of Majors trying to win.
Branden Grace putting challenge:
2 – It was another tough result for Luke Donald at Harbour Town. The Englishman couldn’t keep pace with Grace on Sunday and had to settle for second place for a fourth time in this event, he has also been third twice.
“I think I’ve got to put myself three or four behind on Sunday,” Donald said. “Leading doesn’t seem to be working out for me.”
3 – Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed a fine debut performance as a professional. The 22-year-old ended the week in a tie for fourth and earned $259,600 – not a bad first pay cheque. By finishing in the top-10 he has secured a start at next week’s Valero Texas Open and that’s a big boost to his quest to earn temporary member status on Tour, although DeChambeau has bigger ambitions.
“It’s not about that,” he said. “I think it’s more about winning championships.”
4 – After what happened to Ernie Els at The Masters, he could have been forgiven for taking some time out to work on, or think about, his game. But, true professional he is, Ernie was back at Harbour Town and he put on a great showing, finishing with a 66 to end the week in a tie for 14th.
“You know what, I think I’m just a freak like everybody else, just like everybody else trying to get better,” Els said. “We love to get tortured and we love to play good golf. And on a day like Sunday you feel like, ‘Man, I could play this game again.’”
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Purse $5,900,000, par 71
1 Branden Grace (RSA) 66 74 69 66 275 $1,062,000
T2 Luke Donald (Eng) 66 71 69 71 277 $519,200
T2 Russell Knox (Sco) 72 65 73 67 277 $519,200
T4 Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 70 69 72 68 279 $259,600
T4 Kevin Na (USA) 73 71 66 69 279 $259,600
T6 Whee Kim (Kor) 71 72 68 69 280 $197,650
T6 Jason Kokrak (USA) 71 68 68 73 280 $197,650
T6 Bryce Molder (USA) 70 70 73 67 280 $197,650
T9 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 69 73 68 281 $147,500
T9 Ricky Barnes (USA) 71 68 74 68 281 $147,500
T9 Kevin Chappell (USA) 68 68 75 70 281 $147,500
T9 Matt Kuchar (USA) 67 71 72 71 281 $147,500
T9 William McGirt (USA) 69 71 72 69 281 $147,500
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage