Monday October 8, 2012
Grace shrugs off ‘Carnasty’ fears to lead by four shots
ST ANDREWS (Scotland): South Africa’s Branden Grace overcame a mental obstacle at the Dunhill Links Championship on Saturday to take a giant stride towards securing his fourth European Tour win of the season.
The 24-year-old feared for his overnight five-shot lead going into the third round at Carnoustie, the toughest of the three courses being used in this week’s US$5mil tournament.
Grace, however, fired a three-under 69 to finish on 20-under 196, four strokes clear of Dane Thorbjorn Olesen (68) ahead of the final round at St Andrews.
Swedish pair Alexander Noren (65) and Fredrik Andersson Hed (66) were a further shot adrift on 201.
Grace made six birdies but was not surprised to run up a double-bogey six at Carnoustie’s fearsome 15th hole.
“I didn’t play particularly well but I got it round,” he told reporters. “But this course does that to you mentally.
“You expect to hit a couple of bad shots out there but I kept fighting. Everybody calls it ‘Carnasty’ and that name for me says it all – for me it’s a lot tougher than the rest.”
Having beaten fellow South Africans and multi Major winners Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a playoff to land the Volvo Champions title in his homeland in January, Grace is not worried about leading from the front in the last round.
“I think if I keep hitting the ball the way I am and make the putts, anything is possible,” he said.
“But Thorbjorn is one hell of a player and he has shown in the past that he can play with the big names as well. He is not going to fall over under pressure.” — Reuters