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Nedbank Golf Challenge 2017

Round 4 - Home win for Branden Grace

November 13, 2017

Branden Grace's record-breaking round of 62 at the British Open has been overtaken for his best memory of 2017.

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South Africa's Grace won the Nedbank Golf Challenge by one shot after finishing 11-under par on Sunday, making a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to edge in front and become the first home winner at Sun City in a decade.

Grace's long putt at the par 3 put him one ahead of playing partner Scott Jamieson and two clear of Victor Dubuisson, who was also part of the final group. Grace made pars on the last two, tapping in on No. 18 for a 66 and his eighth European Tour title, and first since January 2016.

The Nedbank Challenge holds major-like prestige for South Africans, and Sun City hadn't seen a local player win since Trevor Immelman in 2007.

On clinching victory, Grace raised his arms, closed his eyes, and leaned back as he was sprayed with champagne by fellow South African players Louis Oosthuizen and Darren Fichardt.

There was also a big hug from Gary Player.

''I think this was probably the loudest applause I've ever received coming up the 18th hole,'' said the 29-year-old Grace, who grew up a couple hours' drive away in Pretoria. ''It's awesome. This is really the one I wanted to win. I grew up watching it.''

Scotland's Jamieson, the overnight leader, finished second at 10 under after a final-round 70. France's Dubuisson also finished with a 70 and a shot further back in third.

There were repercussions for the European Tour's Race to Dubai title following the penultimate tournament of the season.

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood carded a 1-under 71 to finish 3 under and in a tie for 10th at Sun City, where a win would have sealed the season title for the Englishman. It means the Race to Dubai will be a three-player race in Dubai at the season-ending World Tour Championship next weekend, when Fleetwood tries to hold on from Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.

Despite becoming the first man to shoot a 62 at a major when he went 8 under at Royal Birkdale in July, Grace said 2017 had been ''a tough year.''

He had a tough day on Friday, too, carding 75. He was back in the frame with a third-round 68, but still started Sunday three shots behind Jamieson.

Grace was sublime tee to green in the final round, hitting all 18 greens in regulation. He went bogey-free and made six birdies, but there could have been more if not for the putter letting him down.

That was until No. 16.

''I just knew I had to stay patient and had to take my chances when they came,'' he said. ''I missed a couple of short ones but the big key was 16.''

Grace, Jamieson and Dubuisson arrived at the tee on No. 15 all tied for the lead at 10 under and ready to take their battle down the final stretch at Gary Player Country Club. Dubuisson dropped back with a bogey there.

Jamieson then sliced his tee shot at No. 16 way right and the ball disappeared among the hospitality tents only to bounce back into view and settle behind a bunker. His chip over the trap lipped out of the cup, nearly giving him a spectacular birdie.

Grace drilled his long putt into the middle of the hole, though, and reacted with a low fist pump and a shout of joy. He said he and his pregnant wife found out on Wednesday that they were expecting a boy.

Round 3 - Scott Jamieson edges ahead

November 12, 2017

A bogey-free 67 gave Scott Jamieson a 1-shot lead on Saturday heading into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

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Jamieson edged ahead of overnight leader Victor Dubuisson (71) and has a chance at just his second European Tour title. His only previous tour victory was also in South Africa, at the Nelson Mandela Championship in 2012.

''It would be the biggest moment of my career, I'll be well aware of that tomorrow,'' Jamieson said. ''I've got to see if I can step up to the challenge.''

Jamieson made five birdies in his third round to move to 8-under par overall, just ahead of Dubuisson.

Home player Brandon Grace (68) and Martin Kaymer (69) are tied for third on 5 under, two behind Dubuisson and three off the lead.

Kaymer, the two-time major champion and Nedbank Challenge winner in 2012, surged into contention with consecutive 69s on Friday and Saturday. Grace leads the charge for South Africa, which hasn't had a home winner at Sun City since 2007.

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood finally found his form with a 5-under 67, which included five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 10. That put Fleetwood, who struggled on the first two days, into a tie for seventh at 2 under, six behind leader Jamieson.

Fleetwood would wrap up the Race to Dubai title with victory at Sun City, but the Englishman will also be focused on finishing strongly and extending his standings lead over Justin Rose ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship next weekend.

Round 2 - Victor Dubuisson leads by two

November 11, 2017

Victor Dubuisson came through a day of strong winds and thunderstorms at Sun City to hold a two-shot lead after two rounds of the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday.

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Dubuisson bogeyed No. 18 after a rain delay to cut his advantage to two shots, but he handled the tricky weather best in northern South Africa to hold the halfway advantage at 6 under.

The slip up on No. 18 was one of just two bogeys for the Frenchman, who also collected four birdies in his 2-under 70.

Many of the field struggled in the conditions, with 69 the best score of the day. Only three players managed to go under 70.

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood had a 2-over-par 74 and was in a tie for 37th, leaving him with an uphill task to challenge for the victory which would seal the European Tour season title ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship in Dubai next weekend.

There is no cut at the Nedbank Challenge.

Ross Fisher, sixth on the Race to Dubai standings and still with hopes of chasing down Fleetwood, is in contention in South Africa, tied for fourth and three off the lead after a 71.

Dubuisson, whose last victory on the tour came two years ago, leads from Darren Fichardt (69) and two-time Nedbank Challenge winner Lee Westwood (70).

Westwood made six birdies but also four bogeys as the weather tested the field at Gary Player Country Club. There were blustery winds through most of the day and the thunderstorms arrived late in the afternoon to force players off the course. The second round was completed, just, with the light fading as the last players finished.

Fichardt was making the most of his chance after getting into the tournament as a reserve following Anthony Wall's withdrawal. The South African raced up to Sun City and only just made his tee time on Thursday. He's two off the lead.

Four men are tied for fourth a shot behind Westwood and Fichardt. They are Race to Dubai challengers Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton, Scott Jamieson, and Nedbank defending champion Alex Noren.

Major winners Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel are also on the leaderboard at 2 under, with Kaymer, the 2012 champion in Sun City, moving up 31 places after his 69.

Round 1 - Bernd Wiesberger leads by one

November 10, 2017

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger birdied the final hole to snatch a one-stroke lead with a five-under-par 67 on day one of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Thursday.

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Wiesberger's birdie saw him break clear of four players – Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, American Julian Suri and local South African hero Branden Grace – who are all tied for second after rounds of 68.

Defending champion Alex Noren of Sweden capped his round with an eagle at the par-five 10th, but had to settle for a four-way share of sixth on three-under after a bogey on the 17th green.

Wiesberger, 32, captured a fourth European Tour title with victory in the Shenzhen International in April and returned to China to secure a share of ninth at the WGC–HSBC Champions in Shanghai two weeks ago.

But the world number 37 arrived in South Africa for the penultimate tournament of the season after finishing down in 48th place at last week's Turkish Airlines Open.

"I played well in Shanghai and it was conditions that I kind of prefer but then last week in Turkey I couldn't quite keep up with the pace," he said.

"Last week was a course where you need to make a lot more birdies and I didn't quite do that last week so it got a bit frustrating.

"I just tried to clear my mind and was ready to go this week. I had a lot of rest time.

"I just tried to focus on the time when I was working on my game and not get too much into the heat and conserve energy for the four days out here, and it kind of paid off today for me."

Dubuisson teed-up lying 73rd in the Race to Dubai standings and needs to be inside the top 60 at the end of the tournament to reach next week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

And the enigmatic 27-year-old is confident, having shared third place in last year's Nedbank Challenge.

"I've been very good with my driver as I didn't miss many fairways, maybe one or two, and that is the key to play well," he said.

"I was third here a year ago so I really like this course. It suits my long game very well. I also feel very comfortable on the greens.

"My goal this week is really to qualify for Dubai so it's a good way to start the tournament."

Grace was two-over after back-to-back bogeys at three and four, before he regrouped superbly to play holes seven to 15 in six-under par, including an eagle at the 14th.

"This is a grinder's golf course and it's one of those where you have to be aggressive when you can, and when you don't have to, you don't have to and it is why I like this golf course," said Grace, who has won three of his seven European Tour titles in South Africa.

"This is the type of grass that I grew up playing, Kikuyu, and I just have fond memories of it. I've had a lot of wins on grass like this and courses like this.

"It also feels nice to be able to finish the day off with a good round and looking forward to the next couple days."

Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood has his work cut out if he is to significantly extend his advantage over the absent Justin Rose, after signing for a one-over-par 73.

Scores

1 RSA Branden Grace -11 - 68 75 68 66 277
2 SCO Scott Jamieson -10 - 68 73 67 70 278
3 FRA Victor Dubuisson -9 - 68 70 71 70 279
4 CHN Haotong Li -7 - 70 77 70 64 281
5 GER Martin Kaymer -6 - 73 69 69 71 282
T6 RSA Darren Fichardt -5 - 71 69 75 68 283
T6 ENG Lee Westwood -5 - 70 70 74 69 283
T8 RSA Louis Oosthuizen -4 - 71 73 70 70 284
T8 ENG Matthew Fitzpatrick -4 - 70 77 68 69 284
T10 ENG Graeme Storm -3 - 69 75 71 70 285
T10 ENG Tommy Fleetwood -3 - 73 74 67 71 285
T12 SWE Alexander Noren -2 - 69 72 75 70 286
T12 RSA Charl Schwartzel -2 - 69 73 72 72 286
T12 RSA Haydn Porteous -2 - 73 73 67 73 286
T12 NED Joost Luiten -2 - 71 72 72 71 286
T12 IRL Shane Lowry -2 - 72 71 72 71 286
T12 DEN Soren Kjeldsen -2 - 71 78 69 68 286
T12 DEN Thorbjorn Olesen -2 - 71 75 73 67 286
T19 FRA Benjamin Hebert -1 - 74 69 74 70 287
T19 AUT Bernd Wiesberger -1 - 67 77 74 69 287
T19 ENG Ian Poulter -1 - 74 72 70 71 287
T19 FRA Matthieu Pavon -1 - 72 74 68 73 287
T19 ENG Paul Waring -1 - 70 73 73 71 287
T19 RSA Richard Sterne -1 - 74 72 69 72 287
T19 SCO Richie Ramsay -1 - 73 70 72 72 287
T19 ENG Tyrrell Hatton -1 - 71 70 76 70 287
T27 ITA Francesco Molinari Par - 73 75 65 75 288
T27 ESP Jorge Campillo Par - 71 77 68 72 288
T29 ENG Callum Shinkwin 1 - 70 75 74 70 289
T29 PAR Fabrizio Zanotti 1 - 70 77 72 70 289
T29 ESP Nacho Elvira 1 - 70 75 73 71 289
T29 ENG Lee Slattery 1 - 70 74 74 71 289
T29 IRL Paul Dunne 1 - 74 76 73 66 289
T34 ENG Eddie Pepperell 2 - 74 74 69 73 290
T34 ENG Matt Wallace 2 - 75 75 71 69 290
T34 ENG Ross Fisher 2 - 70 71 73 76 290
T37 FRA Alexander Levy 3 - 72 77 70 72 291
T37 RSA George Coetzee 3 - 77 71 72 71 291
T37 FRA Gregory Bourdy 3 - 75 70 72 74 291
T37 DNK Lucas Bjerregaard 3 - 70 78 72 71 291
T37 FRA Michael Lorenzo-Vera 3 - 70 74 75 72 291
T42 SCO David Drysdale 4 - 72 73 69 78 292
T42 ENG David Horsey 4 - 73 71 73 75 292
T42 USA David Lipsky 4 - 74 76 77 65 292
T42 RSA Dean Burmester 4 - 77 72 71 72 292
T42 RSA Dylan Frittelli 4 - 75 75 69 73 292
T42 USA Julian Suri 4 - 68 75 75 74 292
T42 THA Kiradech Aphibarnrat 4 - 74 75 72 71 292
T42 IRL Padraig Harrington 4 - 74 72 71 75 292
T42 ESP Rafael Cabrera Bello 4 - 72 78 72 70 292
T42 AUS Sam Brazel 4 - 74 72 72 74 292
T52 SWE Alexander Bjoerk 6 - 71 73 73 77 294
T52 JPN Hideto Tanihara 6 - 69 76 70 79 294
T52 NZL Ryan Fox 6 - 71 74 77 72 294
T55 ITA Edoardo Molinari 7 - 76 75 73 71 295
T55 KOR Jeung-Hun Wang 7 - 73 79 74 69 295
T57 BEL Nicolas Colsaerts 8 - 76 75 74 71 296
T57 AUS Scott Hend 8 - 80 73 68 75 296
59 FRA Romain Wattel 9 - 76 76 75 70 297
T60 ESP Adrian Otaegui 10 - 74 76 73 75 298
T60 ESP Pablo Larrazabal 10 - 76 74 74 74 298
T60 ITA Renato Paratore 10 - 72 79 77 70 298
T60 SCO Stephen Gallacher 10 - 74 75 74 75 298
T60 DEN Thomas Bjorn 10 - 79 73 77 69 298
65 ENG Andy Sullivan 11 - 79 72 79 69 299
T66 RSA Brandon Stone 12 - 76 79 75 70 300
T66 SCO Marc Warren 12 - 71 76 75 78 300
68 ENG Chris Wood 13 - 72 75 75 79 301
69 ARG Andres Romero 15 - 74 77 75 77 303
70 AUS Andrew Dodt 18 - 78 77 74 77 306
RET ENG Jordan Smith Par - 76 80 - - 156
RET USA Peter Uihlein Par - 70 - - - 70

 





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