Monday, 09 December 2013
 Branden Grace   (Getty Images)
Branden Grace (Getty Images)

Branden Grace is hoping to honour the name of the man simply known as Madiba in his homeland at this week’s Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.

Grace will head to the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban looking to lift the Nelson Mandela Championship Trophy – the best possible way he can mark the death of his country’s iconic former President.

“It’s kind of bittersweet to be playing in the Nelson Mandela Championship just a week after Madiba’s death,” said Grace.

“It’s nice to be able to go and support something like that and the great cause that it supports. It’s not a happy time in South Africa, so it’s nice to be able to be in a position where I can go and support the tournament. I hope that the guys come out to do justice to his name.

“He always talked about excellence, and it’s good to try and show that in action. He was such an ambassador for the country – for the whole world, as well, really – and his memory will live on forever.”

Grace feels he could be a contender this week if he can continue the improvements he felt in his game at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The man who won four times on The European Tour last year is beginning to get his mojo back and will be among the contenders if he can recapture the kind of form that saw him win the Joburg Open, the Volvo Golf Champions, the Volvo China Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2012.

“My own game is kind of on the verge of getting back to its best. I feel it’s so close. I just need a few things to just to click again. The ball striking is there – I actually hit the ball well in the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, but I just couldn’t get it close enough to make the putts.

“I haven’t played Mount Edgecombe for a long time so I’m keen to get out there and see what it’s like and prepare for a good week. I hope I can get it right in this tournament! If there’s one lesson we can learn from Madiba, it’s to keep trying.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1VAN DER WALT, DawieRSA18-15
T2BALDWIN, MatthewENG18-13
T2CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-13
4WATTEL, RomainFRA18-12
5BEKKER, OliverRSA18-11
T6HAHN, JohnUSA18-10

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