Grace overhauls Donald to win RBC Heritage

Branden Grace beat Luke Donald and Russell Knox by two shots at Harbour Town

Branden Grace wins RBC Heritage
Branden Grace wins RBC Heritage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Grace secures a maiden PGA Tour win, Donald has to settle for second again, a great debut for DeChambeau and Els shows remarkable resolve.

South Africa’s Branden Grace claimed his first PGA Tour victory at Harbour Town Golf Links, winning the RBC Heritage by two over Luke Donald and Russell Knox.

Grace began the final round at Hilton Head three shots behind 54-hole leader Luke Donald, but the 27-year-old had caught the Englishman by the turn, courtesy of five birdies.

Further gains at the 12th and 13th holes put the South African in front and Donald was unable to get on terms. Grace holed a gutsy par putt on the 16th and, just afterwards Donald narrowly missed for birdie on the 15th. Grace held steady over the closing holes to fire a 66 and to secure his first PGA Tour victory.

Scotland’s Russell Knox closed with an excellent 67 to tie Luke Donald on seven-under par in a tie for second place. The Scot has now moved into the top-30 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

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4 Talking points from the RBC Heritage

1 – In securing his maiden PGA Tour title, Branden Grace has moved to 11th place on the Official World Golf Ranking. It was his 11th victory on the main world tours as a professional and his fifth since the start of 2014. Grace is keen to use this result as a springboard to go on and achieve success on the highest stage. “I’m excited for things to start,” he said. “I can tick this one off the box and head into the next couple of Majors trying to win.

Branden Grace putting challenge:

2 – It was another tough result for Luke Donald at Harbour Town. The Englishman couldn’t keep pace with Grace on Sunday and had to settle for second place for a fourth time in this event, he has also been third twice. "I think I've got to put myself three or four behind on Sunday," Donald said. "Leading doesn't seem to be working out for me."

3 – Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed a fine debut performance as a professional. The 22-year-old ended the week in a tie for fourth and earned $259,600 – not a bad first pay cheque. By finishing in the top-10 he has secured a start at next week’s Valero Texas Open and that’s a big boost to his quest to earn temporary member status on Tour, although DeChambeau has bigger ambitions. “It’s not about that,” he said. “I think it’s more about winning championships.”

4 – After what happened to Ernie Els at The Masters, he could have been forgiven for taking some time out to work on, or think about, his game. But, true professional he is, Ernie was back at Harbour Town and he put on a great showing, finishing with a 66 to end the week in a tie for 14th. “You know what, I think I’m just a freak like everybody else, just like everybody else trying to get better,” Els said. “We love to get tortured and we love to play good golf. And on a day like Sunday you feel like, ‘Man, I could play this game again.’”

RBC Heritage Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina Apr 14-17 Purse $5,900,000, par 71

1    Branden Grace (RSA)    66    74    69    66    275    $1,062,000 T2    Luke Donald (Eng)    66    71    69    71    277    $519,200 T2    Russell Knox (Sco)    72    65    73    67    277    $519,200 T4    Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 70 69    72    68    279    $259,600 T4    Kevin Na (USA)        73    71    66    69    279    $259,600 T6    Whee Kim (Kor)        71    72    68    69    280    $197,650 T6    Jason Kokrak (USA)    71    68    68    73    280    $197,650 T6    Bryce Molder (USA)    70    70    73    67    280    $197,650 T9    Aaron Baddeley (Aus)    71    69    73    68    281    $147,500 T9    Ricky Barnes (USA)    71    68    74    68    281    $147,500 T9    Kevin Chappell (USA)    68    68    75    70    281    $147,500 T9    Matt Kuchar (USA)    67    71    72    71    281    $147,500 T9    William McGirt (USA)    69    71    72    69    281    $147,500

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?