SOUTH AFRICAN BRANDEN GRACE survived a nervy final round to claim the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by two strokes.
Grace, 24, clinched his fourth European Tour title of the season with a final-round two-under 70 at the Old Course, St Andrews, to finish on 22-under overall – equalling the tournament record – and hold off the challenge of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen (20 under).
Olesen drew level with Grace midway through the final round in Scotland before carding a four-under 68 to finish outright second, ahead of Swedish pair Alexander Noren (18 under) and Joel Sjoholm (16 under).
But the honours belonged to Grace on Sunday evening – he survived a tense finish as he bogeyed the 17th before holing a birdie on 18 to secure the two-shot victory and pocket more than 600,000 euros in prize-money.
Grace’s title was in addition to his wins at the Joburg Open, the Volvo Golf Champions and the Volvo China Open in what has been a breakout season for the Pretoria native.
Another South African was looking to steal the headlines from his countryman on Sunday, as George Coetzee climbed some 58 spots on the leaderboard on the final day to finish tied fifth on the back of his 10-under 62.
Coetzee had carded rounds of 71, 72 and 68 heading into the final day’s play, but he finished with a flourish, birdying five of his last six holes.
Sharing fifth spot with Coetzee on 15-under overall were England’s Lee Slattery (four under) and Danny Willett (two under), Frenchmen Raphael Jacquelin (three under) and Victor Dubuisson (four under), Scot Stephen Gallacher (one under) and Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed (par).
Gallacher was brought back to the pack after incurring a two-stroke penalty for playing an incorrect ball on the 16th hole.