Emotional Branden Grace Wins Puerto Rico Open

Branden Grace Wins Puerto Rico Open

Branden Grace Puerto Rico
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Vegas produced a final round 65 toust miss out on his fourth PGA Tour title. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

Grace Puerto Rico Victoy

Grace's Father had passed away only five weeks ago due to COVID. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x