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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Branden Grace Wins in Qatar

It was another nice win by the 27 year old South African Branden Grace this week, to be the first player to successfully defend the Qatar Masters title   On a tough day, with the wind blowing, he remained composed, made some solid up and downs, and kept pouring in the key short putts on those tricky greens to cruise to victory as his challengers struggled.  

Holding a two shot lead on the tee at the par five eighteenth, Grace hammered a draw, although he prefers to play a fade with the driver, and left himself a relatively easy second to the green.  Once that was accomplished, he was in the enviable position of having four putts for the win.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Grace played very well in the Majors last year, especially in the US Open at Chambers Bay, where, but for one errant drive, things might have been very different.  You have to think this 27 year old is poised and ready to join the party at this year's Majors.  And, if he does break through a get one, he will likely continue to give part of the credit for his rise in the game to his caddie, Zack Raswego, who caddied for Louis Oosthuizen when he won the Open at St Andrews.  

Zack took Branden's bag at the 2011 European Tour school after seven years with Oosthuizen, and, two events later, the pair had a win at the Joburg Open, followed by a win the following week at the Volvo Championship, where Grace went head to head with his two idols, Els and Goosen.  Zack was voted the HSBC caddie of the year in 2012.  

I look for a big year from Grace this year.  Bolstered by his solid performances in the Majors last year, his brilliant play in last year's Presidents Cup, and now this win, he is seemingly poised to become yet another Major champion from South Africa.  It seems to be only a matter of time.  And should he do so, we can expect to see Zack on the bag.  There's alot to be said for a good caddie.