Branden Grace picked up his fourth European Tour title of 2012 with a two-shot victory over Thorbjorn Olesen in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Grace started the tournament with a European Tour record-equalling 60 at Kingsbarns on Thursday, and he followed that with three further under-par rounds to complete the event on 266, 22-under-par.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the South African through the final round though. Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen pushed him all the way to the line and, after 11 holes of round four, the pair were level.
But Grace dug deep on the run for home with three straight birdies from the 12th. When Olesen came up just shy with his eagle attempt on the final hole, Grace was left with a comfortable cushion, and he made sure of the victory with a birdie at the 72nd hole to win by two. He was over the moon to have secured a victory at the home of golf.
“I’ve really dreamt of this moment my whole life,” he said. “I had goosebumps thinking this morning about the possibility of holding a trophy here. It was a tough day, but the putter started working and that’s all I needed to do.”
With the victory Grace has moved to third in the Race to Dubai and now has a realistic chance of overtaking Rory McIlroy as the European Tour’s number 1 golfer for the year.
Two Swedes, Alex Noren and Joel Sjoholm, were third and fourth respectively and a group of seven players shared fifth spot.
George Coetzee of South Africa fired a superb 62 to push himself into that tie. Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher ran up a quadruple bogey eight at the 16th and also finished on 15-under.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, Scotland
Oct 4-7, purse €3,879,000
1 Branden Grace (RSA) 60 67 69 70 266 €617,284
2 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 63 69 68 68 268 €411,520
3 Alex Noren (Swe) 64 72 65 69 270 €231,852
4 Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 65 67 70 70 272 €185,185
T5 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 64 71 66 72 273 €102,222
T5 George Coetzee (RSA) 71 72 68 62 273 €102,222
T5 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 62 73 70 68 273 €102,222
T5 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 67 70 65 71 273 €102,222
T5 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 67 68 69 273 €102,222
T5 Lee Slattery (Eng) 67 70 68 68 273 €102,222
T5 Danny Willett (Eng) 66 69 68 70 273 €102,222
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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