Major dreams for SA number 1 Graceon December 4, 2015
At two strokes off the lead going into Friday’s second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Branden Grace is chasing not only a victory in “Africa’s Major” but also has one of the most prized titles in golf in his sights – the world number one ranking.
At 15 in the world this week, Grace is the highest ranked South African in golf. It comes after a phenomenal season in which he won twice on the European Tour, contended in two of the four Majors, was the standout player in the Presidents Cup, and finished third on the Race to Dubai rankings for the 2015 season.
He knows better than most that a victory at Sun City this week would move him into the top 10 in the world.
“It’s nice to know that I’m South Africa’s number one golfer. I’ve dreamt about this for a long time, and a lot of hard work has gone into getting to this point,” Grace said.
“In the past I’ve been close but Louis (Oosthuizen) has always managed to stay ahead of me,” he added, with Oosthuizen now ranked 18th in the world.
Grace’s finishes of tied fourth in the US Open and third in the PGA Championship this year have many believing he is South Africa’s next Major champion.
“We’ve seen Branden coming through at the Majors this year and we all know he is a Major winner in the near future,” said his friend Oosthuizen.
And Grace is equally confident this is the next step for him.
“I know what it feels like to be in the hunt in a Major and I definitely want my name on one of those trophies. You never know when it will be your week. I always think of Louis when it comes to that. He never really had Major highlights until the Open at St Andrews. When that happens you just have to take it with both hands.”
But for now there is the challenge of the biggest title in African golf, and what it can do for Grace’s eventual dream of moving into the territory currently occupied by Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.
“You know, a win in the Nedbank Golf Challenge would probably get me into the top 10 in the world. And then I just want to keep progressing up the world rankings and get as close to number one as I can.”
Photo Credit: Luke Walker.