Grace completes the South African Slam after shooting 62 to win Open at Randpark

Branden Grace with the South African Open trophy after his stunning 62 – matching the lowest-ever round in Major Championship he produed at Royal Birkdale three years ago. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

BRANDEN Grace produced a masterful putting display in a closing 62 in his national open to complete the South African Slam at Randpark Golf Club.

Grace’s ninth European Tour victory in the South African Open was his first since his Rolex Series triumph at the 2017 Nedbank Golf.

The win sees him complete the “South African Slam” after winning the Joburg Open, Alfred Dunhill Championship and Dimension Data Pro-Am.

The home duo could not be separated at the turn as they put on a stunning show, with Oosthuizen sending the huge crowds at Johannesburg’s Randpark into raptures with a hole-in-one at the eighth.

But Grace put his foot down on the way home, taking his tally of putts to just 22 as he finished at 21-under, three shots clear of Oosthuizen.

The victory secured Grace a place at this summer’s Open Championship, where he will be joined by fellow qualifiers Marcus Armitage and Jaco Ahlers.

Yorkshire-based pro Armitage birdied the last to finish at 16-under and secure his spot at Royal St George’s Golf Club, with home favourite Ahlers a shot behind alongside Jack Senior, who was edged out for The Open spot by virtue of being eight places lower than Ahlers on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Grace finished 113th on last season’s Race to Dubai after being in the top 10 for four of the previous seven seasons.

But he showed a return to form at last month’s Alfred Dunhill Championship with a tie for third.

“That was remarkable,” said Grace. “I played flawless golf and I can’t remember the last time the putter was that hot.

“This is the one I really wanted. This means so much to any South African, winning on home soil, the guys get so behind you and it’s such an emotional feeling.

“It’s the first win with the little one here so he’s going to have a photo with the trophy and then it’s a good birthday wish to my Mrs today, she’s a birthday girl today so it’s a good birthday present.”

Grace bogeyed the second but hit back brilliantly, making a gain on the third, before eagling the fourth from 25 feet.

The first player to shoot 62 in a Major at Royal Birkdale in the The 2017 Open, made another birdie on the fifth.

The 31-year-old was in a tie for the lead when Armitage three-putted the sixth.

And Grace hit the front with a 15-foot right-to-left putt on the seventh.

An excellent up-and-down at the eighth kept him in front, but Branden was soon leapfrogged by Oosthuizen as the 2010 Open Champion produced the shot of the week.

After seven straight pars, his tee shot looked to be heading right and towards the water.

But it took a big hop left off the fringe and rolled into the cup for an ace.

Grace responded with a 25-foot birdie on the ninth and he edged back in front on his own after a stunning recovery from the rough on the 11th.

Armitage just loves Randpark – here’s why

A wonderful approach brought Oosthuizen level on the same hole but Grace found another gear.

He sandwiched a birdie from 12 feet on the 13th with a birdie four at the 12th and a three at the 14th to open up a three-shot lead to complete his South African Slam.

Armitage’s birdie on the last for a 69, then saw his 11-under total matched by Ahlers, while Senior went two better.

But the Fleetwood GC member missed out on a spot at The 148th Open by virtue of being spots lower on the Official World Golf Rankings.

•To see the final scores at the South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg click here.