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Golf Australia Express : Issue 21
SOUTH AFRICA’S Branden Grace defeated boyhood heroes Ernie Els and Retief Goosen with a birdie at the first play-off hole to win the Volvo Golf Champions. The 23-year-old’s final round 2-under 71 was enough to match his compatriots at The Links at Fancourt. Grace, a European Tour School graduate a month ago, secured his second title in as many weeks. “I’m really ecstatic,” he said. “It’s a dream come true to win such a big event—pretty much the best tournament I’ve played in so far.” He won €350,500 and moved to the No.92 ranking. FORMER BRITISH Open champion Louis Oosthuizen opened his 2012 season in style shooting a staggering 27-under par at East London Golf Club to win the Africa Open. The 29-year-old local closed with a 6-under 67 to hold off challenges from Tjaart Van der Walt and Retief Goosen. “It was a real dogfight for most of the day,” he said. “I remember watching Tjaart when I was an amateur and it was just great seeing him play to his potential today.” Van der Walt, 37, finished second after closing with a 4-under 69 and remains winless after 15 years on Tour. Goosen finished third after a final round 69. Oosthuizen collected €158,500 and moved up 14 places in the world rankings to No. 26. OTG WINNING, HOW sweet it is. Just ask 23-year-old Branden Grace. The South African’s tap-in par at the last earned him his maiden European Tour victory at the Joburg Open by one-shot over fast-finishing Brit, Jamie Elson. “It’s nice to win in front of a home crowd and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else,” he said. The 2011 Q-School graduate secured the win with a steady final round 72 that included 16 pars, one bogey and one birdie for a 17-under total at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Clubs. Runner-up Elson, 30, fired an incredible 9-under 63 and holed a 30-foot eagle putt at the 18th to get to 16-under. Six players shared third place at 14-under. Grace collected €206,050. WITHA SOLID display, 34-year-old Robert “Rocky” Rock claimed a stunning one- shot victory over a stellar field to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships. Among the Englishman’s challenges were more fancied rivals, reigning US Open champion Rory McIlroy and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods. Rock secured his second European Tour win with a closing round 2-under 70 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club for a 13-under event total. Starting the week at 117th in the world rankings, Rock moved inside the top 60 with the win. “I really can’t believe I have done that today,” he said. “I was just very happy to be playing with Tiger. That’s a special honour in itself.” McIlroy closed with a 3-under 69 to finish second and one-shot clear of Thomas Bjorn, Graeme McDowell and Woods. Rock pocketed €347,024 for his efforts. OTG IN CASE YOU MISSED THE START OF THE EUROPEAN TOUR SEASON... WRAP JAN SOLID AS A ROCK FINAL STANDINGS 1 ROBERT ROCK ENG -13 € 347,024 2 RORY MCILROY NIR -12 € 231,349 T3 THOMAS BJORN DEN -11 € 107,577 T3 GRAEME MCDOWELL NIR -11 € 107,577 T3 TIGER WOODS USA -11 € 107,577 T6 GEORGE COETZEE RSA -10 € 67,670 T6 MATTEO MANASSERO ITA -10 € 67,670 T8 KEITH HORNE RSA -9 € 44,662 T8 PAUL LAWRIE SCO -9 € 44,662 T8 FRANCESCO MOLINARI ITA -9 € 44,662 T8 THORBJORN OLESEN DEN -9 € 44,662 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, UAE, Jan 26-29 Volvo Golf Champions, The Links at Fancourt, South Africa , Jan 19-22 Africa Open, East London GC, South Africa, Jan 5-8 Joburg Open, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC, South Africa , Jan 12-15