November 12, 2017 / 2:26 PM / in a year

Grace comes from behind to win 'Africa's Major'

SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) - Branden Grace sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to set up victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday as he carded a blistering final round 66 to win by a single shot from Briton Scott Jamieson.

FILE PHOTO - Golf - The 146th Open Championship - Royal Birkdale - Southport, Britain - July 22, 2017 South Africa’s Branden Grace during a press conference after completing his third round with the lowest ever score in a round in a major championship REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

The 29-year-old came from three shots back overnight at the Gary Player Country Club for an 11-under-par total of 277, an eighth European Tour victory and a $1.25 million purse in the penultimate event of the season.

Grace is the first home winner of South Africa’s biggest tournament — dubbed Africa’s Major — since Trevor Immelman a decade ago after going out in 33 on Sunday and then sinking three more birdies on the back nine for a six-under-par round.

Jamieson, 33, had a one-shot lead after Saturday but ended on 278 following a final round 70 which included a double bogey at the eighth hole.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson was third. The second-round leader had started seven under-par and picked up two more shots on Sunday with a final round 70.

Chinese golfer Li Haotong recorded the best round of the tournament on Sunday, storming up the leaderboard to fourth with a 64.

It was Grace’s first tournament win since he enjoyed success on the PGA Tour in South Carolina some 18 months ago.

“It’s a dream come true to win. It was a hard weekend for South African sports fans but luckily this can put a couple of smiles on faces,” he said.

South Africa’s soccer team were eliminated from World Cup qualification on Friday while the Springbok rugby side suffered a 38-3 thrashing at the hands of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

“I felt if I could go bogey free today I would have a chance. I drove well all week and it allowed me to be aggressive when I needed to be and it paid off,” he added.

In July, Grace shot a 62 in the third round of the Open at Royal Birkdale to set the record for the lowest round in a major championship.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis

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