Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Saddier, Paisley hold SA Open lead

Saddier, Paisley hold SA Open lead

Branden Grace achieved a career first of three eagles in one round as he opened with a 65 to share the lead on day one of the BMW South African Open, proudly hosted by the metro, at Glendower Golf Club, on Thursday.

The double US Open champion went out with three birdies and an eagle on his front nine, and added three birdies and a bogey on the back before arriving on the par-four 18 where a double bogey made for a frustrating end to his charge as he signed for a 67. Of the three former Major winners who survived the even-par cut Friday, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa is best placed on 208 after a 69.

With those eagles, one would have thought Grace had played aggressively, but he said he wasn't. He bogeyed the par-5 13 hole, but made amends with four birdies in his next five holes.

"I eagled the second and kind of kept it going from there".

"I am excited for the weekend but there is still 36 holes to play and I must try to stay focused during the last two rounds". I think that was probably the most aggressive I was all day. You know, I get on a streak like this where I make one of those longish putts in the first couple of holes, then I pretty much know I just have to get it there. I had the lines on all of them, but the speed was just a little off."That he was a little off was probably the result of a lengthy break over the holidays".

"At the moment it's weird, I feel like I didn't play wonderful". "I hit the ball superbly through 13 holes but couldn't get it in the hole".

Grace caught fire on his back nine on Saturday after only posting a 71 in his second round which dropped him down the leaderboard but five birdies for an inward nine of 31 boosted his chances of bagging what would arguably be his biggest title to date on Sunday. "I started very well, it was quite slow but after I made three birdies in a row on 15, 16 and 17, it was quite good. I certainly hope that I can keep that trend (of Englishmen winning the SA Open) going".

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