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Branden Grace wins in a playoff
January 23, 2012

Branden Grace held off the challenge of two of his country's greatest players to win the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in a sudden death play-off at The Links at Fancourt on Sunday.

Grace, 23, tied with former Major winners Ernie Els and Retief Goosen on 12-under-par 280 over the demanding par-73, 6,652-metre artificial links.

He then made a two-putt birdie on the par-five 18th, the first play-off hole, while Els and Goosen could only make par.

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium was fourth on 281, with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel fifth on 282.

Els came from four off the pace with a six-under-par 67 to take the clubhouse lead, telling reporters he thought he would probably finish one off the pace.

He was joined on 12-under by Colsaerts, who birdied the par-four 15th, and with two par-fives still to play the long-hitting Belgian became the favourite.

But it was playing partner Grace who birdied the long 16th, leaving his eagle putt on the lip after a superb long iron second, to make it a three-way tie.

Colsaerts was in deep rough with his drive and then had to get up and down from a greenside bunker to make par.

Goosen played himself back into contention with birdies at the last two holes, hitting it close at the par-three 17th and then emulating Els with an excellent chip at the last to make it a four-way tie.

Colsaerts hit a wild drive on the last and had to play towards the first fairway, then failed to get up and down from behind the green.

Grace was just short of the final green for two and chipped to about five feet, only to pull his putt for victory left of the hole.

But he made no mistake in the sudden death play-off, reaching the green in two and putting to tap-in distance.


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