South African Branden Grace produced another top finish in a Major with a share of fourth courtesy of a superb final round three-under 67 in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club starting on Sunday.
Grace finished on nine under following earlier rounds of 70 68 and 66, five shots adrift of eventual champion American Jimmy Walker. It meant the 28-year-old seven-time European Tour winner notched up his fourth top five Major finish in the last two years.
“That was fun out there today and the crowds were unbelievable,” said Grace after his round.
“I gave it a great effort,but came up a bit short. The time will come.”
Grace teed off hours before the leaders, but got off to a fast start where he came close to tying the lead with three birdies in his first seven holes. Another gain followed a the par four 13th as he pulled within a stroke of the lead.
It could have been an even more memorable event for Grace though. Like he did in the 2015 US Open, he made a costly mistake with three holes left to play. There Grace was tied for the lead and hit his tee shot out of bounds as he dropped out of contention. This time around at just one behind on 10-under with three to play, Grace found the par three 16th in regulation, but a woeful birdie attempt followed as he left the ball well short of the hole. The 12th-ranked player in the world could not drain the next putt for par as he had to settle for a bogey-four.
The dropped shot meant Grace fell back to nine-under, and despite two par-fives to finish it was clear that the player was a spent force as he could only manage two pars in what was a tame end to his challenge. On the 72nd hole in particular, Grace did well to just make par. He hit his tee shot in a water hazard, and after taking a drop he hit a good fairway wood onto the putting surface with his third. Grace then left his long birdie putt a couple feet short, but to his credit he made the next to complete another solid showing in a Major.
Louis Oosthuizen was the next best South African down in 22nd place on four-under for the week. Charl Schwartzel was tied for 41st on two-under, George Coetzee was 60th on one-over and Ernie Els finished two-over for the week in a share of 65th position.
– African News Agency (ANA)