Grace savours ‘special’ win

The in-form South African, winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship last month, followed a sensational eagle at the 16th with a birdie at the last to snatch a one-shot win over Marc Warren in Doha.

Grace hit two of the best shots of his career over the final 36 holes, snap-hooking a wedge from the scrub to set up an unlikely birdie at the fifth in the third round, and lashing a driver to four feet at the par-four 16th on the final day before converting for a two.

The 26-year-old also held his nerve at the last, clipping a wedge from an awkward lie to four feet and stroking home the putt, and his sixth European Tour title was in the bag moments later when Warren???s birdie attempt from 25 feet drifted right of the hole.

“It was a great day, a great week, and it’s another trophy to put in the cupboard, this is one of the trophies you want to win,” he told the European Tour.

“I’m going to thank Callaway again – that driver again on 16 to four feet; without that it wouldn’t have been possible. And that wedge on the fifth hole yesterday, that was a shot that you want to hit but you don’t always manage it.

“The form has been there, I played great and I managed to get in on top. This morning, I woke up, I went through a little bit of the previous videos of when I won just to try to get me in the right frame of mind and it worked. It was a nice way to wake up.

???The Middle East is one of the places I’ve always wanted to win. I’ve thought my game suits these types of golf courses, and I play well when I come here.

???These are big now, so this is one of the wins that’s really putting me back on the map now. I think I’ll be in the top 50 or just outside in the world rankings.

???These are the things that we need as golfers to push us to the next level ??? it???s just nice that I could do it at a place like this and in a special way like this.???

Meanwhile, Warren was left to reflect on failing to build on a birdie-birdie start to his final round, dropping a shot at the fifth and taking five at the par-three eighth after his tee shot landed in the water.

The Scot fought back with a barrage of birdies in a back-nine 31, but his 67 was one too many to force a play-off against an inspired Grace.

“I started birdie-birdie, but it didn’t feel as in-sync as it has been, and obviously starting with two birdies, you can’t complain,” said Warren. “It was a little bit all over the place though, and then I hit a poor shot on eight and made double bogey there.

“Walking to the ninth tee I just thought about some swing thoughts, and moved the ball further forward in my stance for the last nine holes and never missed a shot after, so it seemed to work.

“Branden made that great eagle and then I made a good birdie on 17 just to hang on to his coat-tails a little bit. He then birdied 18 and I thought I had hit a really good drive down there to give myself a good chance at it.???

Warren was forced to lay up after his drive finished in the deep rough on the left, but his wedge approach pulled up 25 feet short of the pin and he did not allow enough break with the putt.

“My wedge didn’t go quite as far as I thought it was going to, so it left an uphill chance to get in a play-off, and I decided to take a little break off it, so was hitting it harder than I normally would,??? he added.

“I wish next week started tomorrow, after playing a final 10 holes like that. It’s a second place but it’s not like I have made any mistakes coming in, and it was exactly the opposite to be honest.”

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