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Grace leads from front in South Africa victory


Branden Grace of South Africa

Branden Grace of South Africa

Branden Grace of South Africa

South African Branden Grace cruised to a wire-to-wire victory on home soil at the Alfred Dunhill Championship after his main rivals failed to reel him in on the final day.

The 26-year-old began the day with just a one-stroke lead over Lucas Bjerregaard but the Dane's bogey at the first immediately eased the pressure and when Grace birdied the next he had a three-shot cushion.

As Bjerregaard imploded after a triple-bogey six at the short seventh, covering the back nine in 50, former Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, last week's Nedbank champion Danny Willett and Andrew Johnston all made a bid to challenge but all slipped up when they looked like getting close.

Oosthuizen finished second after a 69 at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane but Grace was well clear on 20 under after a four-under round of 68.

Johnston was third on 11 under, with Willett and Trevor Fisher jnr tied for fourth, 10 shots behind the winner.

"It's been a phenomenal week," said Grace, who becomes the first player to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship,

Ireland's Kevin Phelan shot a final round 72 to finish on two under par.

Elsewhere, Lee Westwood hit an impressive final-round 67 to win the Thailand Golf Championship by one shot.

The former world number one moved into contention on day two but was still two shots behind overnight leader Marcus Fraser of Australia on Saturday in Bangkok.

But the 41-year-old Englishman, who won the tournament by seven strokes from Charl Schwartzel in its debut season in 2011, put in a five-under-par round to finish eight under overall, one shot ahead of both Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer and Fraser.

Defending champion Spain's Sergio Garcia finished ninth on two under after his score of 69 on Sunday saw him move up a spot.

Bubba Watson of America ended the tournament in joint 25th while Darren Clarke fared even worse with scores of 75, 75, 73 and 74 meaning he finished in a five-way tie for 50th.