South African Branden Grace delivered a final-round masterclass to clinch a long-expected first victory on the PGA Tour by two shots at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on 17 April. The world number 14, who thrust himself into the limelight at the games highest level with top-four finishes last year at the US Open and PGA Championship, closed with a superb five-under-par 66 at the Harbour Town course on Hilton Head Island.
Helped by pinpoint distance control with his irons and brilliant putting on lightning-fast greens, Grace mixed seven birdies with just two bogeys to post a nine-under total of 275 in the first PGA Tour event after last weeks Masters.
Grace, who clinched his seventh European Tour victory with a successful title defence at the Qatar Masters in January, was delighted to triumph at a venue where he effectively kickstarted his PGA Tour career last year.
I like this golf course, I like the way it plays, I like the type of golf I have to play around it so the plan worked out and you know Im super stoked, Im really excited, Grace, 27, told reporters afterwards.
Last year this was really the turning point, I got my first to top ten, and I just rode the wave from there on in and hopefully I can do the same now getting this first victory.
Grace began the final round three strokes off the pace and moved into a tie for the lead with Donald and Knox when he rolled in a four-footer to birdie the par-four sixth. Out in four-under 32, he tightened his grip with birdies at the 12th and 13th, sinking consecutive putts from 10 feet to forge three ahead.
He did well to save par with a clutch 12-footer at the 16th, where he found sand with his first two shots, and then bogeyed the tricky par-three 17th after being bunkered off the tee before comfortably parring the last. Australian world number one Jason Day, joint leader after 36 holes before he tumbled down the leaderboard with an error-strewn 79 in the third round, shot a 68 to tie for 23rd.