• Finished T4 in US Open after heart-breaking late collapse
• "I do feel like I've got a bit of a point to prove" says 27-year-old
BRANDEN GRACE | THE OPEN
Branden Grace has told bunkered.co.uk that his near-miss at the US Open last month has left him with a ‘point to prove’ in this week’s Open Championship at St Andrews.
The 27-year-old South African was tied for the lead at Chambers Bay with three holes to play when he hit his tee shot on the 16th hole out of bounds and onto an adjacent train track. He ultimately carded a double-bogey and finished tied for fourth as Jordan Spieth won his second successive major.
Grace admits that that gut-wrenching experience took its toll on him but added that he is determined to take out his frustrations on the Old Course this week.
"I feel like a little piece of me was taken by Chambers Bay." - Branden Grace
“Not winning at Chambers Bay was obviously a really tough pill to swallow but you can’t afford to get down on yourself,” said the six-time European Tour winner. “You just have to pick yourself up and try to put it right. I feel like a little piece of me was taken by Chambers Bay but, hopefully, I can get it back this week. I do feel a little bit like I’ve got a point to prove but, more importantly, I know now that I have it in me to win a major and I’ll be doing everything I can to do so this week.”
Reflecting on last month, he added: “I only had three bad swings on that final day at Chambers Bay. Other than that, it was all pretty good. My ball-striking was really good, I felt like I coped pretty well with the pressure and, more to the point, I enjoyed the experience, so there are a lot of positives I can take into this week.”
This is Grace’s fifth Open Championship appearance and his first at St Andrews. He has experience of winning over the Old Course, having won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship there in 2012, and will be trying to draw on those good memories this week.
“It’s great to know that I’ve won here before but it really all depends on the weather,” he said. “If you get the good side of the draw, you can go out there and shoot a low score, whereas if the wind picks up, you can still do that but it will be a whole lot trickier. The key is to stay patient, play your own game and you’ll do just fine.
"It would be fantastic to have a week like Louis." - Branden Grace
“I seem to play well on links courses and I’m coming into this week off the back of a good tune-up in the Scottish Open at Gullane, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
A win for Grace on Sunday evening would make it back-to-back Open Championship wins at St Andrews for South Africans following Louis Oosthuizen’s victory in 2010. Grace admits that he would dearly love to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps.
“It would be great,” he added. “What Louis did back then was remarkable, winning by seven shots or whatever it was, and it would be fantastic to have a week like that this week.”
Branden Grace :: One to watch?
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