South Africa’s number one hope at the BMW SA Open, Branden Grace, paid respect to Chris Paisley after the Englishman’s fine display on Sunday.
The duo quickly turned the final round of the national championship into a straight shootout at Glendower with the underdog prevailing despite a partisan home crowd.
Grace, who took home €110 811 as runner-up, began with a fury as he birdied the first and eagled the second to take the lead but the signs were there early on that Paisley was a worthy adversary. He got up and down after being bunkered on the first tee and calmly two-putted for birdie on the next to limit the damage.
A double on the sixth from Grace and a birdie from the Englishman swung the bout in the visitor’s favour; a position that he would not surrender with flawless play from tee to green.
‘He was flawless from the start to the end,’ said Grace, who finished three behind with a final round 68.
‘He was really great under the pressure.
‘Every time I threw something at him, he responded, so it was good. It’s not the result I wanted but I will take the second on my first week back.’
The win is Paisley’s first on the European Tour and his first since 2012 on the Challenge Tour. Grace now heads to Abu Dhabi for the start of the desert swing.
Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images
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