Branden Grace (Getty Images)
Branden Grace justified his favourite tag at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at The Links at Fancourt by claiming a share of the first round.
A three-time European Tour winner this year, with one of those wins at the same venue in January when he beat Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a play-off for the Volvo Golf Champions, Grace opened with a four under par 69.
That effort was matched by Chris Swanepoel, Divan van den Heever and Riekus Nortje in the final event of the six-tournament Vodacom Origins series.
“I didn’t play that well, but I got it going. The key on this course is to keep your misses in the right positions,” said Grace, who along with his co-leaders is one stroke clear of Neil Schietekat and Ulrich van den Berg.
Grace will be tough to beat on a course he knows extremely well, and where he has the positive memories of one of the biggest victories of his career.
“I feel very relaxed,” he said of only his third tournament in South Africa since winning the Volvo Golf Champions.
“I’m obviously here to do a job and win, but I don’t see much of my friends and it’s great to get on the golf course and have a bit of a laugh with them.”