Branden Grace wins China Open for historic third success of year
China Open final leaderboard
- -21: B Grace (SA)
- -18: N Colsaerts (Bel)
- -17: R Finch (Eng)
- -16: V Dubuisson (Fra), G Coetzee (SA)
- Selected others -15: R Gonzalez (Arg)
Branden Grace claimed a third European Tour success of the year by winning the China Open in Tianjin.
The South African, 23, carded a three-under-par 69 to finish three ahead of defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts, who also shot a 69.
A six-under 66 from Richard Finch ensured the Englishman took third.
Grace is only the second player in European Tour history to win three times in a season after graduating through Qualifying School.
"I thought my first win was around the corner, but to have three before May is unbelievable," said Grace.
"I've been playing well so I've been feeling like I can win and I've been giving myself opportunities."
Grace picked up a birdie on the second, but a poor drive on the fourth saw him drop back down to level par.
However, he collected two successive birdies from the sixth to reach the turn in two under, before a birdie on the par-five 12th opened up the gap between himself and Colsaerts.
- 3 European Tour wins (China Open, Volvo Golf Champions, Joburg Open)
- Only the third South African to win three times in a single season
- Came through 2011 Qualifying School final stage
- Progressed from the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation
Grace then kept his cool to make par in his remaining holes and secure victory.
"If I think back now to last year and playing on the Challenge Tour, and really just trying to make a living, it was tough at points. So to be here with three wins is amazing," he added.
"Everything is going great. I wouldn't have thought I would have been top 70 in the world and it is nice to know that I don't have to worry about a lot of stuff and I will just be able to play the game with a smile on my face and try to push on from here.
"I want to get better, I want to win more titles and I want to play the Majors and make a name for myself around the world."