Grace believes SA golfers are ready to end Nedbank Golf Challenge drought

09 November 2016 - 19:36 By Liam Del Carme at Sun City


South African hopeful Branden Grace believes the country's recent absence from the winner's circle at the Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) may well come to an end here this weekend. Trevor Immelman was the last home grown talent to win here when he pipped England's Justin Rose by a shot in 2007.Although this year's entry list has more than doubled‚ Grace believes the ratio of nine South Africans in the 72-man field gives the locals a fighting chance.“In the last couple of years we haven't had that many South Africans in the field‚” said Grace after yesterday's shortened Pro Am due to bad weather.“We've maybe had two or three every year and the fields have been great with world class players."You really have to be on top of your game if you are going to win.“I think we've got nine South Africans in the field and that is phenomenal."We have some good players with some good form and we've got a few players who have taken a couple of weeks off.”Grace is in the latter grouping.He returned to his Fancourt home in the last couple of weeks following a season that didn't quite measure up to his strong performances he delivered in the Majors last year.Still‚ he's satisfied.“It's been good. Every year is different. Defending the title in Qatar (Masters) was pretty special and getting the win in the States (RBC Heritage) was pretty good as well."It has opened a lot of doors and it has been a steady season. I had some good performances in the Majors.“I feel my game is coming along quite nicely. I'm hoping for a good final push‚” said Grace.He explained that tough scoring conditions will make Ernie Els's course record 25-under par untouchable this week.“I can't see that‚” said Grace.“It is definitely not going to happen this week. No way. It is a tough course.“It is one of those courses where the more you play the more comfortable you are going to be on it."You could still get a guy that steps on the first time and shoot a score. It may also depend on the weather."You could get out there early in the morning and shoot a number or you could go in the afternoon and struggle. It is what the course has to offer.”Grace will tee off tomorrow in the third last grouping alongside England's Chris Wood and the inform Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.Race to Dubai rivals Swede‚ Henrik Stenson and England's Danny Willett is off in the final grouping.Last year's winner Australian‚ Mark Leishman‚ isn't in the field‚ thus becoming the first champion since Jim Furyk in 2007 failing to defend his title.Mark McNulty did the same in 1986. - TMG Digital

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