11 Mar 2017

Branden Grace – Man for the big occasion

Over the last five years Branden Grace has developed into one of the top players on the planet. Many would have doubted this astounding progression when they saw the South African struggling on the Challenge Tour in 2007. In four seasons and 68 tournaments he failed to lift a single trophy and only finished in the top three a few times. But he’s grown into one of the most consistent players on the European Tour and with ability and confidence by the bucketload, it’s shock if Grace is not challenging at the summit in every tournament he enters these days. The 28-year-old seven-time European Tour winner currently sits in the top 20 in the world which isn’t bad for a man with no Major to his name, for now…

Branden Grace

Worldwide Golf: You’ve made a promising start to the season Branden, do you feel like you’re close to winning that elusive first Major? 

Branden Grace: Yeah I think it’s just a matter of time because my golf is getting better by the week and I’m getting closer in these big tournaments. I’m hitting the ball really nicely so far this season but I need a few more putts to drop but that’s how it goes.

WWG: You’ve got a fantastic track record in the Middle East with two Qatar Open victories, two top-10 finishes in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and three top-10s in the DP World Tour Championship. What is it about this part of the world that brings out your A-game? 

BG: I think I just generally just get off to a good start to the season when it’s the Desert Swing. These courses suit my game and are in pristine condition so you have absolutely no excuses to not perform well apart from yourself. When I’ve had my time off I’ve relaxed but have also grinded when I’ve needed to. For some reason, I feel lot more comfortable at the beginning of the season than towards the end.

WWG: You’ve consistently been in the top five in big events and Majors, do you feel you perform better when the pressure is on and the stakes are high?

BG: I’ve been giving myself chances in the bigger tournaments which is what you need to do to be in a chance of winning a WGC or a Major. I feel I’m getting closer. It’s nice to get the consistency going but it’s not always easy but so long as you’re in the run-in on the final day, you must be doing something right.

WWG: You were never triumphant on the Challenge tour but you are now one of the best players in the world. Did you believe back in your Challenge Tour days  that you would have such a successful career and would improve as much as you have? 

BG: The Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour were a great stepping stone for me. Although I didn’t manage to win on the Challenge Tour I did on the Sunshine but I always believed I could be great and could do good things but it’s a matter of doing it when it matters. When I got over the first hurdle and sealed my inaugural European Tour victory in front of my home crowd at the Joburg Open in 2012, you kind of sit back and realise what you’re capable of doing which leads on from one thing to another. That season I won four tournaments in total so it proves how much confidence it gave me. Hopefully there’s a lot more victories to come.

Grace has recently switched to the Callaway great Big Bertha Epic and is loving having the innovative driver in the bag.

Is it a hard decision to change your clubs when you’re performing well?

It normally is. I don’t usually change my clubs that often but it was an easy decision with this new Callaway set and I can tell I’m going to stick with the Epic for a while because it’s game-changing. Everybody is talking about how good the driver is but the three-wood is brilliant as well.

What’s the most Epic thing you’ve done on the golf course? 

The most Epic thing I’ve done has got to be when I hit a hole-in-one. That’s as good as it gets I suppose.

By Scott Grayston

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