South Africa’s Grace grabs first US PGA Tour title

LOS ANGELES: Branden Grace fired seven birdies in a five-under par 66 to surge to his first US PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

South Africa’s Grace, owner of seven European Tour titles, finished with a nine-under total of 275, two strokes ahead of Scotland’s Russell Knox and England’s Luke Donald — the 54-hole leader who yet again was pipped at the post on the Harbour Town Golf Links.

Donald now has five top-three-finishes in the Heritage but no victories.

He began the day seven-under and ended there, too, after a round that included two birdies and two bogeys in a four-hole stretch.

Grace, meanwhile, wasted no time in challenging Donald’s lead, with birdies at his first two holes.

He bounced back from a bogey at the fourth with birdies on the next two holes and another on the ninth to take the lead into the back nine, where he made two birdies and a bogey coming in.

It was a good turnaround for the 14th-ranked Grace, after he missed the cut at the Masters last week.

He said putting was the difference, but it wasn’t until he had rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at 12 and a nine-footer at 13 that he really felt he had a victory in sight. AFP