Branden Grace took his earnings for the last six competitive rounds of golf he has played to over $6.45m after the 34-year South African won the second tournament in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, which was held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon.
After missing the cut in 10 of his previous 15 tournaments, Grace has chosen a fine time to rediscover his form, with a third-placed finish and a team win at the first event in London earning him $2.5m, while his victory in Oregon and a second place in the team event in Portland bagged him another $4,375,000, taking his earnings from the two events to a grand total of $6,857,000. All this from someone whose previous total career earnings had amounted to $12m in a 13-year professional career.
Grace celebrates after chipping in for a birdie on the 16th hole
Grace, who is currently ranked 128th in the world, left it late to grab the spoils in Portland with the South African firing three birdies in the his final three holes, including a chip-in on 16, to overhaul second round leader Carlos Ortiz with a stunning final round 65 and finish two shots clear of the Mexican.
Ortiz held a five-shot lead early on in the third and final round, but with a chasing pack that also included major champions Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, he was unable to maintain the momentum from his opening rounds and had to settle for second after a closing level-par 72.
“What a week,” Grace said after finishing on 13 under par for 54 holes. “I played really well and when I needed to do something special, I managed to pull it off. Obviously you need a few low rounds to get your confidence back, and I felt really good in London for the first event, where I had a great final round, and I took a lot from that into this week. Today, one shot after another fell into place. That’s been the key.”
Johnson, the highest ranked player in the field, held a share of the 36-hole lead, but could not overcome a poor start and closed with a 71 and a tie for third with teammate Reed, who fired a final round 67.
Just 15 of the 48 players in the field broke par for the week, while Phil Mickelson endured another tough week on the LIV Golf series, shooting rounds of 75, 75 and 76 to finish on 10-over-par and a share of 42nd.
Grace teamed up with fellow South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oostzhuizen and Hennie Du Plessis to finish second in the team event, which was won by Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces team, which included Pat Perez, Patrick Reed and Taylor Gooch, with a combined score of 23 under.
The next LIV Golf event is at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey from July 29-31.