Branden Grace holed out for eagle from the bunker on the 71st hole to claim his second PGA Tour title at the Puerto Rico Open.
Branden Grace Wins Puerto Rico Open
After losing his father to COVID in January, South African Branden Grace produced an exceptional eagle-birdie finish to win the Puerto Rico Open, beating Jhonattan Vegas by one shot.
Vegas had been leading for the majority of the back nine on Sunday, but there was nothing he could do about Grace’s phenomenal finish.
The South African hadn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2016 RBC Heritage, but two birdies in his first five holes put Grace into contention midway through the front nine.
However, Grace’s nearest rival, Vegas, was flying through his front nine, producing five birdies and no bogies for a five-under-par 31.
The Venezuelan wasn’t done there, though, as birdies at the 10th and 12th, put him 18-under-par for the tournament and two shots ahead of Grace.
The South African didn’t seem phased by his rival’s scoring though, producing a stunning birdie at the 12th before a run of four consecutive pars. However, Grace was still a shot back with two holes to play.
Despite driving his ball into the greenside bunker at the 17th, Grace was able to recover, holing the bunker shot and taking the lead momentarily from Vegas.
The Venezuelan, who was in the group ahead of Grace, kept the pressure on. Making birdie at the 630-yard par five; putting himself into a tie for the lead with the South African, who was stood on the 18th tee.
But Grace made no mistake on the last hole, holing a four-foot birdie putt for his first win on the PGA Tour in nearly five years.
Speaking after his round, Grace said: “My old man passed away not too long ago, and he always said I’m an aggressive player and I knew he was watching over me.
“It was good. I was just able to hit the shots that I needed. I just stayed in the moment, in the zone. I played the right shot at the right time. I got aggressive.
“I spoke to my my wife today and she said that my dad’s watching over me and he’ll give me the guidance I needed. And he did.”