Branden Grace was taking the positives after finishing runner-up in his first time at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The South African moved up 13 spots to sit 40th in the Official World Golf Rankings after a strong showing in a calamitous final round for many of the leaders.
Rickie Fowler ultimately held his nerve to claim the win, but not before Grace moved up the field and had a chance to take the lead on the 13th hole; something hardly foreseeable after starting the day some seven strokes off the pace.
Coming off a missed cut at Torrey Pines, the one-time PGA TOUR winner was pleased with his response as he soaked up the madness that is the loudest show on grass.
‘I think 16 is the first time in my life where I was booed to make par on 16. But it’s just how it goes. Obviously I really enjoyed it. Obviously being in the final group yesterday with Rickie and them was awesome. This place was nuts. It’s everything and more than I expected and what a fun week it was. I can’t take anything for granted, and I had to dig deep today and I did that, it’s just unfortunately one bad shot,’ said Grace, who has 8 European Tour wins to his name.
Grace, who earned more than R10.24-million for his efforts, found the water off the tee on 17 and then chipped through the green into the bunker as his dropped shot saw Fowler re-take the momentum. The American then rallied with a birdie of his own at the same hole after he drove the green to head down the last with a two-shot lead, which he maintained.
‘Obviously after coming off a missed cut last week, coming out here and finishing second and having a chance to win a golf tournament, just a big improvement. It shows that I played some good golf and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season,’ Grace added.
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